Council approves seven percent increase in water rates
By Galen Patterson
In the Arcadia City Council Chambers, the evening of Nov. 21 began with a commemoration of the Arcadia Historical Society. A Mayor’s Certificate of appreciation was presented to the Historical Society in honor of the recent 65th Anniversary of the Arcadia Historical Society.
Mayor Peter Amundson explained to the audience that even Arcadia’s founder Elias “Lucky” Baldwin had become concerned with the overwhelmingly negative reputation of the city before his death in 1909. Amundson marveled at the change that has taken place within the city, “I think a lot of that credit belongs to the Arcadia Historical Society for all that you’ve done to keep our roots deep,” he said.
A descendant of Baldwin turned out to personally thank the Historical Society for keeping the history of Arcadia alive.
Immediately after the award, City Manager Dominic Lazzaretto began explaining the first item of the evening, a motion to amend a pre-existing unmodified ordinance in Arcadia, regarding State video franchise fees paid to the city which are restricted for uses of educational and civic programs only. These include the recording and publishing of the Arcadia City Council videos and a local access television channel.
Ordinance 2351 was passed, amending Ordinance 2276, automatically renewing 2276 to stop the Ordinance from expiring periodically, and therefore keeping those funds from drying up unnecessarily in the future.
Next, a public comment by Gail Marshall, Arcadia resident, pleaded with the City Council to adjust a plan to use Arcadia Dial-A-Ride buses for Taste of the Town, a local food festival. As a recent hospitalized patient, Marshall explained how the 18 buses were already having a difficult time covering their area of operations on a day-to-day basis. After Marshall, Arcadia resident Jolly Wu poured forth a heart wrenching story about a wheelchair-bound local resident who could not get a Dial-A-Ride bus to pick her up and thus set out in the darkness, down hills and across intersections to in an effort to visit her mother, arriving just before her mother’s death in September. Council members agreed amongst themselves that the use of the buses was not in violation of any federal or state laws and no change was made.
After a quick round of comments by the council members, City Clerk Gene Glasco read the consent calendar containing various items needing approval by the council, including the waiving of a negotiation process for the purchase of communications equipment at up to $600,000 for the Arcadia Police Department. The consent calendar passed without interference.
The final item of the evening was the setting of water and sewer rates for 2018. City Manager Lazzaretto explained that although the city could keep water prices lower than expected, the state Watermaster’s projection requires Arcadia to bear their share of the statewide burden and increase water rates by a maximized 7 percent, reaching the limit set forth by a previously approved water rate structure assessment from 2015. The sewer rate adjustment was recommended to be increased by only 3 percent.
After a long round of questions and answers, City Council approved the rates. The meeting adjourned immediately thereafter.