Skip to main content

River Valley Times

Proposed 15.39% CSD Rate Increase is Off the Table

Apr 12, 2024 02:16PM ● By Gail Bullen
The sample bill shows a proposed rate increase of $13.62, which is cheaper than the amount listed in the Proposition 218 notices recently mailed to customers in the Rancho Murieta Community Service District. It was one of four budget scenarios considered at the district’s Finance Committee on April 11. Courtesy photo

RANCHO MURIETA, CA (MPG) - Although a recent Proposition 218 notice mailed to Rancho Murieta Community Services District (CSD) customers indicated that next year’s rates could rise by a maximum of 15.39% or $37.34 per month, the final rates are expected to be noticeably lower.  Additionally, a patrol position will likely be added to the 2024/25 fiscal year budget.

The development came after the Community Services District Finance Committee met on April 11 to review the proposed 2024/25 fiscal year budget. Mark Matulich, director of finance and administration, outlined four budget scenarios and their potential impacts on the rates.

The committee, which includes Community Services District directors Stephen Booth and Martin Pohll, General Manager Mimi Morris, Matulich and other staff members, delves deeply into financial issues and advises the full board.

After evaluating the scenarios, Pohll expressed support for the “Balanced Budget” scenario, which proposes a 12% rate increase, translating to an additional $29.36 per month. This scenario would ensure that all funds—including water, wastewater, drainage, solid waste, and security—are solvent. Pohll supported this option because it would allow all $925,000 of the anticipated property tax revenue to bolster the district’s “woefully low” reserves.

Booth preferred the “Stabilized Budget A,” which would result in a 9.77% rate increase or an additional $23.72 per month. While this option would leave a $205,744 shortfall in the water fund, it would be offset by property taxes, leaving more than $700,000 to enhance the reserves.

Booth emphasized the urgency of addressing public concerns about rate increases.

“I think if we don’t take action quickly to announce a different rate increase than what is floating out there (on social media), then I think we are dealing with a protest,” he said.

Although Booth and Pohll had differing preferences, they concurred on recommending the removal of the Proposition 218 budget scenario. Under that scenario, the average customer would have faced a monthly bill jump from $242 to $290 and Murieta Village customers would have seen a 13.84% increase or an additional $26.16 per month. These rates were the maximum possible increases, which had to be noticed by state law.

The fourth scenario, “Stabilized Budget B,” would use even more property taxes to lower the rates, proposing an 8.89% increase or $21.54 more a month. However, it would create a $277,000 deficit in the water fund.

Booth also proposed the addition of a patrol position in next year’s budget, a suggestion that Pohll seemed to support, although he noted that the final decision would need full board approval.

“I think we are kind of in limbo right now with regard to security because we’re trying to see what RMA wants to do,” Pohll said.

Top of Form

The security department’s budget was identical on all four budget scenarios, providing sufficient funding to maintain full staffing at the gates with 24/7 coverage. However, as is the case now, the district would fund only three patrol positions. Nor would Supervisor Kelly Benitez, who recently resigned, be replaced.

Booth inquired about the cost of adding another patrol position with full benefits. Matulich responded that it would range between $93,000 and $104,000. The directors considered using property tax revenue to fund this position until Matulich noted that the security budget is currently projected to have a surplus of $119,000.

All five Community Services District directors will consider the 2024/25 budget at their April 17 board meeting. The public rate hearing will be at 5 p.m. May 15.

Sacramento River Valley Arrest Records
Achieves of local newspapers
Vote Republican 2024
Upcoming Events Near You

No Events in the next 21 days.