Jerry Holldber, Pine Cove Water District general manager, speaks at the May 5 Pine Cove Property Owners Association meeting. Photo by JP Crumrine

Jerry Holldber, Pine Cove Water District general manager, spoke at the monthly Pine Cove Property Owners Association’s meeting May 5. While he discussed several water issues, the prospective rate increase was the highlight.

With attendance of about 20 members, the audience did not express any opposition to the proposal. Although social media suggests a few residents have strong feelings about the increase and they may turn out at the May 9 PCWD public hearing, none of them appeared at Saturday’s PCPOA meeting.

The cost to produce 1,000 gallons of water is nearly $7.30 cents, Holldber said. He has had the district’s engineer, John Egan, review the budget, audits and invoices to confirm that figure.

Right now, the cost to customers is $1.80 for 1,000 gallons, which explains why he has proposed the rate increase. The cost for electricity to produce that water is about $1.40.

At the end of the five-year period, PCWD will be selling those 1,000 gallons for $8. Unless no inflation occurs in the next five years, that is still likely to be less than the cost of production.

The principal reason the district has sold water below its cost of production is the money it receives for leasing communication sites at its Rocky Point property. These leases bring in about $190,000 annually.

In the future, Holldber would like to put these funds into reserves for capital projects. For example, in the next year or two, the district will need to re-coat several of its water-storage tanks and will need the funds to pay that cost.

In addition, Holldber told the attendees he plans to announce that the district will go to a Stage 2 water conservation level this month.

He emphasized that the purpose was simply to keep customers aware of the importance to conserve water usage. “It’s not because we’re out of water or low on supply,” he stated. “It’s a prudent request. Pine Cove customers have always done an excellent job conserving.”

He also discussed the planned pipeline project for this summer in the Pine Ridge and Nestwa neighborhoods.

The PCWD directors were to hold a public hearing on the proposed rate increases Wednesday, May 9, just after this paper was published.