“We don’t mind paying what its costs, but we see no reason to subsidize others,” said Don Jensen, public works director for Santa Fe Springs. However, officials from the South Bay area argued Wednesday that any split in the assessment would be unfair, would result in the state Legislature setting rates and would discourage regional water management. “As a resident of Inglewood, I would be directly and adversely affected by the more than $1 million increase in cost that would be mandated on my city,” said Gloria Gray, a director for the West Basin Municipal Water District. De La Torre said the bill doesn’t set rates but instead provides various factors for the Water Replenishment District to use in rate setting. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3022160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Southeast-area water utilities could save hundreds of thousands of dollars under legislation supporters say would stop the utilities from subsidizing utilities in the South Bay area. Assemblyman Hector De La Torre’s bill, AB 640, would force the Water Replenishment District to split its groundwater pumping rate into two rates. One rate would be for Southeast area (Central Basin) and another for the South Bay (West Coast Basin) water utilities. The Assembly Local Government Committee on Wednesday approved the bill on a 4-2 vote. It next goes to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. “AB 640 would eliminate an annual subsidy of $10.7 million paid by the communities of Southeast Los Angeles County to southwest Los Angeles County,” De La Torre, D-South Gate, said. The figure comes from a study that showed that the costs of replenishing the Central Basin underground supply is much lower than the West Basin, said Jim Glancy, chairman of the technical advisory committee for the Southeast Water Coalition, a group of cities. The existing assessment is $138 per acre foot. But if the assessment was split, Central Basin utilities would pay $83 per acre-foot and West Coast Basin utilities would pay $366 per acre-foot, according to the study. The savings to Whittier-area utilities would range from about $42,000 for the city of Whittier to $200,000 for the city of Santa Fe Springs and Pico Water District. Local officials said should their costs be reduced, their rates wouldn’t go down but probably wouldn’t go up as much in the future.
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