Lompoc sewerage service customers may see rate changes | Local News

Lompoc sewerage customers may notice a change in their bill after Lompoc City Council members unanimously adopted a new winter average billing method on July 5.

Chief Financial Services Officer Robert Cross said 70% of customers will see a positive impact while 30% will see their rates increase, but this increase would have happened without the method change due to increased use of the system by his clients.

Since 2006, the city has charged a sewerage fee based on the average consumption of water used during the winter months. The logic behind using the months of January, February and March is that most of the water used during these months goes through the drain rather than for outdoor watering.

Traditionally, the city bases the rate on a six-year review with the highest and lowest year dropped. In March 2021, the city converted its utility billing system to Munis software which does not calculate based on multi-year averages.

Rather than pay to reprogram the software at potentially considerable cost to the city, staff proposed the new method which will involve manual data entry for some 9,000 customers at a cost of 60 hours of work.

Effective July 1, and until a full tariff study can be completed, the tariff will simply be based on the previous year’s wastewater usage: 2023 bills will be based on the usage of 2022.

“Almost all of the 30% increase would have also increased with the old method. Utilization was higher, so whether or not it was part of the six-year average, they would still see an increase,” Cross said.

“The idea is that the new method would require less staff time and will not have a significant impact. Only a few customers would be negatively impacted,” Cross said.

He also confirmed Councilor Gilda Cordova’s clarifying statement.

“So to be clear, both methods require the manual component. It’s not that we’re getting away from it. We’re just simplifying it and reducing the level of data that we come back to so we can come up with more current and efficient averages. , which is always fair to customers,” Cordova said.

Service will continue to be provided to Vandenberg Village and Vandenberg Space Force Base at flat rates.

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In other actions, the board unanimously approved elements of the consent schedule, including:

— A $400,411 contract with DELL to replace public security network storage equipment;

— A memorandum of understanding with city employees represented by the International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 1906, including $103,544 in payment of a one-time non-pensionable essential worker bonus of 5% of basic and one-time essential worker allowance, bilingual salary, sick leave incentive, basic group life insurance and benefit contribution adjustments, as prescribed in the fiscal year amendment (FA) 2022-23;

— A memorandum of understanding with employees represented by the Lompoc Police Association to provide increased basic group life insurance coverage, increased sick leave incentive and increased bilingual compensation at a cost of $9,086 ;

— $1.2 million for various tentative agreements with employees represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1245 to take into account the cost of living adjustment;

— Nearly $900,000 in compensation plans for management, supervisors and confidential and unrepresented employees;

— Plans and specific provisions for the aerodrome electrical improvement and runway repair project, and awarded Granite Construction Co. a contract worth nearly $5.2 million for the work. The board also authorized agreements for grant funds from the Federal Aviation Administration and the State Department of Transportation;

— $297,770 consulting services contract with Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc. for construction management, inspection and testing of construction materials for the airport project;

— An extension of the agreement with the Chamber of Commerce of the Lompoc Valley for economic development and business assistance services for an additional year, until June 30, 2023, for the same indemnity previously paid, which is 108 $000/year; and,

— An amendment to the City Attorney’s contract for legal services provided by Aleshire & Wynder, LLP to increase the hourly rate of pay to an estimated total increase of $108,000 for fiscal year 2022-23.