Read the full article from Julia Baum (Pleasanton Weekly)

“Pleasanton water ratepayers can expect a bigger water bill in the future after the Pleasanton City Council unanimously approved a funding plan for final design of the city’s per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) treatment and wells rehabilitation project on Tuesday.

‘If you’re a big, big water user, it might get expensive,’ Mayor Karla Brown said before casting her vote at the Sept. 7 council meeting.

City officials are currently proceeding with the estimated $46 million project’s final design to address the detection of PFAS — synthetic chemicals found in common household items like paint and known to be harmful to humans — in the city’s wells. About $3.3 million for design costs has already been allocated from the water operating fund, leaving $42.7 million in water operating funds, water connection fees, and debt financing to pay the estimated remainder of the project.

During a presentation on Tuesday, city staff said ratepayers will pay an up to $11.60 increase on their bimonthly water bills under the funding plan, assuming a 4% interest rate. Actual water rates charged would be adjusted accordingly, should actual interest rates be lower. Staff said the strategy will reduce the impact to water rates while ensuring funding is available when the project is ready for construction or obtaining equipment.

‘This is going to ensure operational reliability of our wells, something I think we’re at risk for one,’ Councilmember Kathy Narum said on Tuesday. ‘To have that reliable source of clean water for $5 a month on average … is actually less cost than I thought to construct this project would be.’

Under the plan, an additional $6 million will be allocated to the project for the fiscal years 2023 to 2025 capital improvement program (CIP), with $4 million of that going to the water fund’s annual allocation to the CIP.

Another $5.3 million in water connection fees will also be allocated, for about 11.5% of total project costs. The current water connection fee fund balance is $4 million, which could be entirely allocated to the project. According to staff, the remaining $1.3 million in water connection fee revenues will come from future collections, but the city would likely need to borrow against those future collections to ensure funds are available ‘in a timely fashion.'”…