The Calexico City Council on Aug. 1 authorized an amendment to the agreement between the city and Willdan Financial Services for an additional water and sewer rate study.
Assistant City Manager Miguel Figueroa noted the public expressed desire in July to have input on the decision.
"So we were briefed on this item in the two July meetings between city staff, the mayor and the Economic Development/Financial Advisory Commission," he said. "So we learned from the first round. We need outreach with the community and with ample time. We'll keep the public informed."
The rate study will be funded at the amount of $23,840. The first study in the spring cost $67,625.The council approved the item by a 4-0 vote with Council Member Armando Real absent.
City Manager David Dale sought the second study after rate increases recommended in an initial Willdan study were relentlessly hammered by angry ratepayers and failed to even get a council vote at a July 5 meeting.
Following the failure to raise rates the council vowed to get more input from ratepayers before deciding how to proceed. But two meetings between city officials and ratepayers failed to produce a compromise.
Dale, supported by the first Willdan rate study, maintains higher rates are vital to maintaining and upgrading the city’s aging water and sewer systems.
Residents have argued the proposed increases were to be implemented too fast—every year for five years—and that a more affordable approach would be to spread them out further. Questions were also raised about why previous funds allotted for system upgrades did not get the job done.