Water rates to increase nine percent, no increase for gas, sewer
LONG BEACH, CALIF. (JUNE 26, 2023) — After a special meeting on Monday, The Board of Utilities Commissioners adopted the Fiscal Year 2024 budget, showing a strong focus on securing a sustainable and resilient future for Long Beach.
The $170 million water fund, $136 million gas fund and $23 million sewer fund budgets cover the 12 months from October 2023 through September 2024. This marks the first unified budget for Long Beach Utilities following the voter-approved utility consolidation that took effect in January.
The budget allocates nearly $60 million for infrastructure improvements across all three divisions, including $10 million dedicated to enhancing local water supply and $8 million to update and improve gas pipelines.
With the budget approval, the Board also authorized a nine percent increase to water rates, which amounts to about $5 a month for the average Long Beach residential customer. Sewer and natural gas rates will not increase in 2024.
There were no increases to water, sewer or gas rates in the 2023 fiscal year and, in fact, the Board approved a water rate reduction of 2.5 percent.
“While the emergency of the pandemic is over, this year’s budget process showed us that its economic impacts are still with us,” Board President Gloria Cordero said. “With the challenges faced by so many in our community, I’m proud our board was able to delay a rate increase last year, though the realities of inflation and need to develop more drought resilient infrastructure have caused us to take a harder look at our finances. The necessary water rate increase for FY 24 ensures Long Beach has the resources it needs to continue providing reliable, safe and quality drinking water to all in our service area.”
The Fiscal Year 2024 budget and rates account for inflation, cost increases and procurement delays affecting the post-pandemic global economy.
Investments in local water supply enhancement projects and gas and sewer infrastructure maintenance ensure Long Beach Utilities can continue to provide safe, reliable water, natural gas and wastewater management services at rates that are among the lowest in the state.
Unprecedented investment in local water supply infrastructure, combined with conservation efforts in the community, will ultimately facilitate lower costs for Long Beach water customers as we reduce our need for more expensive and less reliable imported water.
As the utility consolidation enters its second year, the department is turning a close focus on cost savings surrounding staffing, processes, equipment and infrastructure projects. Those savings are expected to be realized in the coming years.
Long Beach Utilities will host a public hearing on the water rate increase in August. Information will be mailed to all customers and posted online.
For more information on the budget, visit LBWater.org/budget.
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ABOUT LONG BEACH UTILITIES
Long Beach Utilities serves nearly 500,000 people in 50 square miles, providing high quality, safe and delicious drinking water and wastewater management for Long Beach, as well as natural gas services for Long Beach and Signal Hill. With the foundation of roughly 500 dedicated employees, the department maintains 1,600 miles of water and sewer mains, 1,900 miles of gas pipeline and a dedicated groundwater treatment plant, and also provides 24/7 emergency response. To learn more visit LBUtilities.org. Follow us on social media on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @LBUtilities.