A controversial proposal by Beverly Hills Water to change the rates for water it provides to West Hollywood residents will be the subject of a public meeting on Thursday and will be addressed by the Beverly Hills City Council next Tuesday.
Beverly Hills Water, which supplies water to residents and businesses on the city’s Westside, is proposing a 5.4% increase beginning in March for apartment and condo buildings and a slight decrease in the rate charged for single-family homes and businesses. Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, rates will be increased by 3%.
The increase has upset some WeHo residents because it is on top of a long-standing premium of 25% over what Beverly Hills Water charges residents and businesses in Beverly Hills.
Beverly Hills has been providing water to the area for decades. In 1928 it purchased the Sherman Water Company, which provided water to the then-unincorporated west side of what was to become West Hollywood. In 1948, Beverly Hills started receiving water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), which now serves the rest of West Hollywood. It also operates several groundwater production wells of its own that supply about 10% of its water supply.
The City of Beverly Hills has said that the 25% surcharge on its WeHo customers is “in recognition that Beverly Hills has extended service out of the city limits to customers that had not contributed to the City’s General Fund which funded the initial construction of the City’s water system.”
However, Westside residents and City Councilmember Lauren Meister have challenged the 25% surcharge, arguing that by now the costs of the initial construction of the Beverly Hills water system should have been paid for.
The proposed change in rates that will be discussed on Thursday is part of what Beverly Hills Water is calling an “Outside City” surcharge, meaning it will apply to all areas outside Beverly Hills who receive its water.
While the proposed new rates will slightly reduce the cost of water to West Hollywood residents, an analysis by West Hollywood City Hall shows BHW’s WeHo customers will still pay 16% if they are in single- or multi-family buildings and 13% more if they are businesses.
Thursday’s meeting will take place at 6 p.m. at Beverly Hills City Hall Municipal Gallery, 455 N. Rexford Drive.
The Beverly Hills City Hall meeting on Tuesday will take place at 7 p.m. at the Beverly Hills Council Chambers, 455 N. Rexford Drive.