Why is $6 million needed per year for Capital Improvements?

The City maintains a significant number of facilities necessary to deliver water to your home or business. Much of the system has been in service for 50 to 70 years or more. The system is valued at $480 million today. The City has prepared a 20-year capital improvement plan to prioritize system improvements and replacements needed to maintain a high level of service and avoid the disruptions and large costs associated with failing infrastructure. The plan recommended $9.3 million in improvements annually over the next five years. Staff have worked hard to defer and re-prioritize items to reduce critical needs to $3 million per year since 2011 but the system is old and complex. It is not responsible to continue to invest at this deficit level. The proposed rates include a phased increase from $3 million per year to $6 million by the end of the study period in 2022. Some planned investments in the near term include:

  • Eleven 36-inch valves in transmission main ($2.5 million)
  • 2,500 linear feet of 12-inch PVC crossings under Highway 29 at Second Street, Pine, Laurel, Old Sonoma Road ($3.9 million)
  • 2,650 linear feet of 12-inch water main on Third Street ($1 million)

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1. Why do water rates need to be raised?
2. What would happen if we didn't raise the rates?
3. Why is a fixed service charge included on my bill?
4. I liked that three units (3,000 gallons) of water were included in the bimonthly service charge we had before. Why do we have to change?
5. I am on a fixed income and am a low water user. Why is my bill going up by $11 per month while a large user's bill is only going up by $5 per month?
6. Why don't multi-family, commercial, and irrigation customers have tiered rates like single-family residential?
7. Why does the City bill for water every two months instead of monthly like most of my other bills?
8. Why is $6 million needed per year for Capital Improvements?
9. Why doesn't new development pay for capital improvements?
10. What are the major costs to operate the water system?
11. What has been done to lower operating costs?
12. Why don't you lay off employees or reduce salaries to cut costs?
13. Does a water customer in Napa pay more or less than similar customers in neighboring communities?