An earlier version of this meeting brief did not include information about pending State Water Board funding, which requires the approval of new water rates as proposed by the county. According to a flier that was distributed to El Porvenir property owners and residents at community meetings, state funding of $891,418 will be used to offset costs for residents over a five-year period, reducing costs to approximately $111 per month.
June 20, 2023 — Fresno County Board of Supervisors
Documented by Rachel Youdelman
What happened: At their Tuesday meeting, the Fresno County Supervisors approved a steep increase of $183 per month in water-service fees for the rural community of El Porvenir, which will begin July 1 and increase 2% annually through 2028.
The approval followed a Proposition 218 hearing, during which only two of 59 residents’ ballots were returned, registering opposition to the increase for the debt-burdened community.
In March, El Porvenir rejected an increase in monthly water rates, a slightly smaller increase than that approved Tuesday, which will increase rates from $104.21 to $287.58 per month.
According to fliers distributed to El Porvenir property owners and residents at community meetings, State Water Board funding of $891,418 is expected, which will be used to reduce water rates for residents by approximately $233 per month. The flier states that the funding will be approved only if new water rates proposed by the County of Fresno are approved.
Mariana Alvarenga, a policy advocate from the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability said that the increased rates will be a hardship for residents, who fear that state assistance may not materialize. She asked the board to convert the debt to a loan and then to forgive it instead.
And also: During public comments, six people were in attendance to repeat false claims about “election fraud” and proposed that the county get rid of its Dominion voting machines.
They made these statements despite the results of the recent defamation lawsuit, in which Dominion won a $787 million settlement against Fox, a right-wing cable TV company that made false reports about the accuracy of the machines and election results.
The commenters repeated conspiracy theories, cited “reports,” and asked that elections in the county regress to a single day, paper ballots only, with results made available in the evening of Election Day.
As the meeting adjourned, Supervisor Steve Brandau greeted one of the commenters, Sean Burdine, and the two shook hands.
Up next: The Fresno County Supervisors will meet again on July 18 at 9:30 a.m.