McFARLAND, Calif. (KGET) — McFarland residents expressed concerns Wednesday after city leaders voted earlier this year to raise water and sewer rates, citing financial reasons.
Maria Figueroa, who has called McFarland home for 12 years, said she was concerned because her water bill is too expensive.
“Agua is muy importante,” she said during an interview with 17’s Eytan Wallace.
“Water is very important, and our rates nearly doubled,” she continued in Spanish. Her rates jumped from just under $70 per month to $108 per month.
“This was a slap in the face from elected officials,” she stated.
However, Mayor Manuel Cantu Jr. of McFarland said the city had no choice, noting water rates already were subsidized. Those rates did not bring in enough revenue, he added.
“Financially, we have to be stewards of our money,” Cantu said. “And financially right now, in order for us to continue keeping our budget in water and sewer, we have to increase our revenues, because our revenues are already below our expenses.”
The city sent out notices warning residents about the raises. The memos encouraged people to voice concerns, but McFarland resident Maria Jacinto said some people in the community never received the notices. Now, she is authoring a petition asking leaders to lower the rates.
“For my family it’s high,” she said of her recent $114 monthly water bill. She said it previously stood at $68.
Figueroa also expressed concerns about paying her bill.
“I cannot afford the exponential rise in water costs,” she said in Spanish. “The last paycheck I got was $200, and the last water bill I received was close to $110. If I don’t pay it, they will send out a final notice, and if it is not paid after that, they will shut off the water.”
Cantu said, McFarland’s rates are cheaper than neighboring cities even with the increase.
Meantime, the city council plans to address the issue at the meeting on august 15th.