Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Monday he supports the Department of Water and Power's proposal to raise water rates over the next five years to help pay for pipe system upgrades.
Garcetti said the hike would fund necessary improvements and raise monthly rates an average of $3 per year for each customer.
"No one likes to raise rates," Garcetti said. "But the price of inaction will be much higher for all of L.A.'s residents."
Garcetti's backing of the plan came a day before the Board of Water and Power Commissioners' scheduled vote on the plan, and a few days after the ratepayer advocate released a report saying the rate hike plan is "just and reasonable."
The rate increase has been billed as a way to raise money to upgrade the DWP's aging water pipelines.
Garcetti previously said he would support a plan that both fixed "our bursting pipes" and also kept rates affordable. He also pledged that he would consider input from ratepayers and the ratepayer advocate, Fred Pickel.
"Over the course of almost six months, we've heard from residents at scores of public hearings and the message has been simple -- it's time to get our house in order," he said today. "And I agree."
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Noting that Pickel last week signed off on the plan as being "reasonable," Garcetti said the average increase would be minimal over five years while keeping the DWP's rates among "the lowest in the region."
He also pointed to provisions that would create a measuring stick for whether the rate increase results in the promised improvements, with a formal review in two years to decide whether changes need to be made to the rate structure.
The rates are divided into four tiers, which means people who use the least water would pay less, while the costs incurred by heavy water users -- or customers who waste water — would be fully recovered.