On Thursday, February 21 the five-member Central Contra Costa Sanitary District Board (“Central San”) will meet to consider a two-year plan to increase total annual household rates to $512. Annual rate increases are anticipated for the foreseeable future due to continually rising pension and other benefit costs for active and retired employees.
SEE BELOW: SUMMARY OF CHANGES TO BARGAINING UNIT CONTRACTS AS A RESULT OF NEGOTIATIONS
Effective July 1 annual household sewer rates are proposed to increase by $34, up 9.2%, from $371 to $405. Effective July 1, 2014 annual household rates would again increase by $34, to $439. In addition to these rates, which are itemized on property tax bills as “CCCSD SEWER CHG,” the District will continue to receive roughly $73 per residence from the county’s property tax allocation. Under the proposed rate plan, effective July 1, 2014 homeowners will pay a total of $512 annually for Central San service.
Last year the District signed 5½ year labor contracts that yielded minimal cost savings, despite provisions that require increased pension contributions by employees. During a January budget planning session, the proposed rate increases were justified in part based upon $3.4 million in additional labor expenses anticipated for the 2013/14 budget period for salaries (up 4.4% or $1.1 million) and benefits (up 7.8% or $2.3 million).
Public opposition to rate increases is anticipated due to the District’s generous retiree health and pension plans and controversial pension spiking practices, which have been complicated by a legal dispute regarding implementation of Governor Brown’s pension reform legislation by the District’s pension plan.
In January the District’s top official, Ann Farrell, departed after only 9 months on the job. Interim General Manager Curt Swanson is filling the role while the Board searches for a permanent replacement.
The District, formed in 1946, serves a population of approximately 462,000 over 141 square miles in central Contra Costa, reaching from Martinez to San Ramon and including Lamorinda.
This article was cross-posted at WatchDogWire.com.