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Water agency holds 2011 rates at 2010 levels

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The Placer County Water Agency is keeping water rates at current levels for 2011 while holding the line on its own spending. Financial Services Director Joseph Parker described a “near status quo financial plan for the agency’s water division,” at last week’s meeting. Directors approved water division budget totals of $53.6 million, including $36 million for operational costs and $17.6 million for water infrastructure improvements and debt services. “The agency’s costs of doing business in the water utility have been basically flat over the past year,’ Parker said. “This will be the second straight year the agency has not needed to adjust water rates.” Board Chairman Alex Ferreira said the annual budget process is complex and praised staff for achieving a plan that keeps costs down and rates stabilized while providing safe and reliable water service. Director Lowell Jarvis, who represents the Auburn-Newcastle area, said customers will be happy to know that the agency is holding the line on costs while not increasing rates. Including the Middle Fork relicensing and improvements and power division budget, the agency expects to spend $87 million next year.