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City water meeting back on for this Friday

After scheduling problems forced the city of Claremont and Golden State Water Company to cancel their first negotiation meeting late last month, the city says the discussion with the for-profit water company has been rescheduled to take place later this week.

A closed meeting with Golden State Water officials will take place this Friday, February 15, with the discussion centered on issues surrounding the local water system, according to City Manager Tony Ramos in his latest city update. It can be viewed in its entirety on the city’s website at www.ci.claremont.ca.us.

This marks the first meeting between the groups since the city made its first formal offer for purchase of its water system. In November, Claremont attorneys presented Golden State with a $54 million offer for purchase of the city’s water system and assets.

While the water company has made repeated statements that Claremont’s water system is not for sale, officials say they are open to dialog and ways to work together moving forward. The city maintains its focus on water system ownership, whether through negotiations or by acquisition.

The privately-owned water company approached the CPUC in July 2011 to request a rate increase of more than 24 percent to take effect in 2013 with additional, smaller increases to be added in 2014 and 2015. The appeal was followed by a series of protests from the water company’s customers, many here in Claremont, upset about yet another set of rate increases. After several public hearings held in November 2011 and negotiations the following spring, the CPUC has been charged with deliberating the final rate.

While a decision was anticipated by the end of 2012 in order for the rates to take effect as requested on January 1, 2013, the CPUC has yet to render any decision on the final rate.

—Beth Hartnett

news@claremont-courier.com

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