El Dorado Irrigation District’s latest rate hikes have been particularly harsh on area restaurants, which now often pay seven times as much for their EID sewer bills as they do for water; $12,000 annual EID bills now are not uncommon and are a hefty load on thin margin small businesses struggling to survive.
EID General Manager Jim Abercrombie argues that EID’s sky-high sewer bills are due to EID’s more stringent tertiary treatment requirements and lift stations for El Dorado County’s hilly terrain. Yet most of EID’s high sewer charges are for 50-percent-overbuilt wastewater treatment capacity at a debt service cost to current ratepayers of $5 million annually, per employee $46,000 of lavish annual employee benefits that account for 30 percent of rates, and a bloated Mosquito Road overhead that has surged $10 million annually since 2003 and which General Manager Abercrombie excessively charges 40 percent to EID’s sewer customers.
The result of these spending excesses is EID sewer bills that, adding property tax subsidies, are double those of nearby Folsom for residential customers and even more punishing for restaurants.
It won’t get any better for west El Dorado County EID customers until EID stops spending money like water.