Sonoma County officials made their first pitch for a public power agency on Tuesday night to the Sebastopol City Council, with seven more stops to go in a campaign to enroll eight cities in a plan to supplant PG&E as their sole source of electricity.
Sonoma County is preparing to raise wholesale water rates by between 3.8 and 5 percent, the smallest annual increase since 2007. Consumers may not feel the effect directly, since the rates are charged to municipal water systems in Sonoma County, along with a few other bulk users. The cities set their rates separately and are not obligated to pass along the increases directly, and even if they do, the cost of water accounts for less than half of their yearly expenses, according to the Sonoma County Water Agency.
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday is set to advance one of its most hot-button projects: a bid to introduce fluoride to most of the county’s drinking water to improve dental health.
Sonoma County government officials on Tuesday introduced a lobbying platform for 2013 that focuses on funding for infrastructure projects, health care initiatives and various energy, environmental and criminal justice efforts.
Sonoma County Water Agency officials have targeted $255,000 in nonprofit grant funds to assist study of the Russian River watershed and launch a pair of conservation projects. One of the water-saving projects aims to help the agency detect leaks on residential accounts.
The way sewage rates are levied for many Sonoma Valley residences has been changed to take into account how much sewage they actually discharge, out of fairness and as a way to promote conservation.
Sonoma County supervisors Tuesday formally approved preparation of a plan for more thorough management and study of groundwater in the Santa Rosa Plain. The 85-square mile area, stretching from Cotati to Windsor, has a 260-square-mile watershed, including surrounding uplands. The plan, which fulfills a state mandate, would outline a strategy to conserve groundwater supplies and increase use of recycled water in the region, among other goals.
State Parks Director Ruth Coleman said Friday she expects to approve Sonoma County’s bid to take over operations at Annadel State Park and spare the popular Santa Rosa park from closure this summer. Should that happen, people who now use the 5,000-acre park without paying fees may be in for a surprise. As part of its proposal to run the park, the county plans to install a day-use parking area on Channel Drive to prevent people from parking outside the gates and walking or biking in for free.
The Petaluma City Council voted 5-2 Monday to raise water and sewer rates while attaching future rate hikes to the pace of inflation. The water bill for a typical Petaluma resident will increase 3.8 percent in the new year, while the sewer bill will rise 2.6 percent. The hikes are the smallest rate increases in Petaluma in years, but some residents were still angry, wanting a break after years of soaring bills, particularly for sewer service.