Take note, Paradisians

Ridge residents who oppose the PID’s proposed water rate hike still have time to contest it

Ridge residents are looking for answers on the Paradise Irrigation District’s proposed water rate increases. They want to know, for example, why the district has opted for the more expensive option to recycle water at its facility, the main impetus for putting the squeeze on its customers. They also want clarity on the district’s rate structures, as outlined nebulously on its website.

From what we can tell, the increases will be steep (see Meredith J. Cooper’s report on page 8). That’s going to be a hardship for many Ridge residents, considering the foothills region is home to a large population of elderly people who live on fixed incomes as well as younger, low-income families.

The good news for PID’s customers is they are able to contest the proposal. To block the plan, more than 50 percent of water users—only those who actually pay the bill—must inform the district that they oppose it. That’s a high threshold to meet, but we know it can be done. Customers of the North Yuba Water District did that very thing recently, which forces that district to come up with a more affordable alternative plan.

PID has not made it easy for its customers to oppose the new rates. First off, it provides a protest form on its website (www.paradiseirrigation.com), though water users may not oppose the proposed rate increases electronically (i.e., no emails, faxes, text messages). They can write their own protest letter—however, to be counted, it must contain very specific information (see the district’s website for details).

Lastly, the district must receive the form by Jan. 29, the date of the last public hearing on this issue (it can also be hand-delivered to that meeting). The CN&R urges Ridge residents to seek answers from the district and, should they believe the rate hikes are out of line, not be complacent. It’s not too late to stop PID’s plan, but soon it will be.