Infrastructure History and Condition

Water Rate Study Background
Posted on 08/10/2020
Infrastructure History and Condition

Wastewater Collections System – Infrastructure History and Condition

On May 19, 2020, the City Council held a workshop that provided a report of the Water/Sewer Rate Study, performed by Raftelis. The City Council directed the City Manager to move forward with a plan that would adjust rates according to a 50% coverage of the Water Master Plan (WMP) Capital Improvement Project (CIP) budget, and a 100% coverage of the Sewer Master Plan (SMP) CIP budget for the next five years. San Jacinto has struggled financially since the recession and tough decisions were made to keep the City’s water and sewer system operational, which included deferring costly replacement and maintenance needs, and capital improvements. The City’s current water/sewer rates do not include an annual CPI adjustment, or any adjustment, based on the current rate of increase needed to sustain a delivery and conveyance system. The end result has been low rates to the rate payers, which in turn has degraded the system, drained the positive balance of the enterprise fund, and put the City at risk of making improvements to the system using General Funds. The normal rate of increase per CPI since 1998 is 54%, and the increase for Water, Sewer and Trash since 1998 is 131%. The City has not increased water rates since 2009, and sewer rates since 2011. So, the City’s enterprise funds have been operating on outdated rates to perform capital improvements, administer the operational budgets for water and sewer, and provide general maintenance to the systems. The enterprise funds simply cannot provide enough revenue, as is, to improve or replace worn out, broken or damaged, and/or end of life facilities. 

In the past 18 months, the City has rebuilt its three operating Wells (Lake Park, Artesia, Bath), and took a failing Well off line (Grand Well). In the near future (36 months or less), the City will need to replace the Bath Well Treatment Facility (~$1.2M), drill a new Well to replace the Grand Well ($2.6M), and build a new Treatment Facility (~1.2M) to handle the water from the Grand Well replacement. Just these facilities alone, which are desperately needed to keep the water system operating to provide public health for residents and businesses, are estimated at the low end to be a staggering $5M.

The City is not in a financial position to continue to subsidize the Water and Sewer Enterprise Funds with General Fund money that is needed in all other areas of the City’s operating budget, especially for public safety, those affected by homelessness, and providing amenities to the residents, as well as improving its Main Street corridor.

failure to approve water/sewer rate increases will impair the ability of the divisions to continue to provide necessary and required services in the short and long term.

The following images reflecting the current water system: 
Bath Well Image of RustCity Valves Image

Sewer piping images sewer collection system picture