Big water rate hike approved by district |

Big water rate hike approved by district

Following a steamy debate, the Round Hill General Improvement District Board of Trustees approved an 83 percent water rate increase in two tiers Tuesday to pay for four major infrastructure projects.

It passed by a 3-1 vote, with board member Richard Stone opposed.

Earlier, Stone had made a motion to table the issue for a month, but it died.

“In all fairness, I think these people need a chance to digest this information,” Stone said, addressing the standing-room-only crowd in the Tahoe-Douglas fire station.

The jump from $30 to $45 a month would go into effect in August. The board delayed the fiscal pain with a tiered plan as it became apparent it was inevitable – the district’s financial situation and necessary improvements called for the other $10 come August 2002.

The district experienced its last increase in 1993.

With the help from state grants, the board wants to build a 500,000-gallon water tank, expand its water treatment plant, extend its water intake lines from 750 feet from the Lake Tahoe shoreline to 1,000 feet and connect to the Kingsbury General Improvement District water system for a backup source.

Water usage doubles during the summer months, with this district recording its highest amount reported at 638,000 gallons last Thursday, Manager Cameron McKay said.

“The water use might have gone up because of the fires,” Linda Loding said, joining a number of residents peppering the public hearing with questions, comments and suggestions. She recommended a water conservation plan, but the board felt this idea fails to go far enough in solving its problems.

“We’re on the edge in a couple of places,” board member Ray Case said.

But the nearly 30 residents who live behind Round Hill Square near Stateline expressed much displeasure with an increase of 83 percent and requested on several occasions to spread out such improvement projects.

Under pressure, board members repeated claims that committing to a lesser amount would jeopardize the state funding, which it needs to complete the jobs.

“I personally feel 83 percent is too much,” resident Bob Loding told the board.

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