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Irrigation District Eyes Multi-Year Rate Hike
SSJID logo only color final

An informational meeting on proposed rate hikes for the South San Joaquin Irrigation District is scheduled in Escalon, one of three being hosted in communities throughout the county that would be impacted by the rate increases.

The informational meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 26 at 9 a.m. at the Escalon Community Center, 1055 Escalon Ave.

The South San Joaquin Irrigation District board adopted a Cost-of-Service Analysis in late May, and a Proposition 218 Notice was mailed to all irrigation customers on June 2.

A comment period for customers remains open through July 25, when the SSJID Board of Directors will consider adopting the new fee structure.

The Board of Directors will conduct a public hearing on Tuesday, July 25 at 9 a.m. in the board room at the SSJID headquarters, 11011 E. Highway 120, Manteca, to consider a five-year schedule of changes to irrigation rates.

SSJID officials note that “The proposed changes are based on an independent Cost-of-Service Analysis that was adopted by the Board of Directors May 23, 2023.”

Answers to some ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ regarding the proposed rate hikes on the district’s website indicate who the hike would affect and why the increase is being proposed.

The website states: Only SSJID’s irrigation customers would be subject to the proposed rate increases. Irrigation customers include record owners of the parcel receiving irrigation water from SSJID and growers who lease farm ground and pay for SSJID irrigation water. Property owners are identified from the County’s property tax roll. Irrigation customers are identified from SSJID’s customer database.

Also: SSJID has not increased its irrigation rates since 2000. Costs to provide irrigation service continue to rise due to regulatory and inflationary pressures in addition to the repair, rehabilitation, and replacement of irrigation infrastructure, some of which was built over 100 years ago. Cost categories such as administrative, payroll, operations, construction materials, equipment and vehicles, and capital improvements are included in the District’s cost of service analysis.

There are a number of different categories for rates. For example, the Flat – per acre fee is currently $24 and would increase to $38 in 2024; $52 in 2025; $60 in 2026; $65 in 2027 and up to $70 in 2028.

There are also increases proposed in Volumetric – Tier 1 and Volumetric – Tier 2 rates and a Blended Charge per acre would increase from its current $31.47 fee up to $98.40 by 2028.

Irrigation district customers concerned about the increases can attend the informational meeting in their area as well as the public hearing; written protests can also be dropped off in person at the SSJID headquarters in Manteca or mailed to South San Joaquin Irrigation District, P.O. Box 367, Ripon, CA 95366.

The SSJID website provides specific details on how to submit a written protest.

Along with the June 26 Escalon informational meeting, sessions are set for July 13 at 1 p.m., at the Manteca Transit Center, 220 Moffat Blvd., Manteca and July 13 at 5:30 p.m., in the Ripon Council Chamber, 259 N. Wilma Ave., Ripon.

District officials said if the SSJID Board of Directors does not receive sufficient written protests and the proposed rates are approved on July 25, 2023, the new acreage rate would be collected on the 2023-2024 San Joaquin County Property Tax Bill, and the new volumetric rate would be billed during the 2024 Irrigation Season.

Also, annual rate increases through 2028 as proposed in the rate schedule must be confirmed by the SSJID Board of Directors every year prior to going into effect.