CLAREMONT - City officials are expected to finally meet with Golden State Water Co. representatives after months of failing to get together.

The two sides, which have been feuding for months over water rates in the city, have not finalized a date or a location for the meeting.

But when they do get together, Claremont officials offer to buy the company's local assets will likely be a topic of discussion.

"We're still trying to work out the logistics at this point," Golden State spokesman Peter DeMarco said.

Golden State and Claremont officials were expected to meet during the week of Jan. 21, but that gathering never materialized.

The two sides have not been able to gather since their public quarreling started because of an assortment of scheduling conflicts.

City officials have been at odds with the San Dimas-based company since it asked the state Public Utilities Commission to approve a rate increase for Claremont customers of more than 24 percent for 2013 and additional increases in 2014 and 2015.

A proposed settlement resulted in the city's 11,000 customers and ratepayers receiving a 15.1 percent rate hike in 2013, 2 percent more in 2014 and 1.8 percent in 2015. The commission's board still has to approve the increase. A date for that vote has not been finalized.

Claremont officials last year made an offer of more than $54 million to purchase Golden State's assets in the city, but it was denied by the company.

Golden State officials sent a letter to Claremont's attorney on Dec.


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20 stating the company was unwilling to sell the assets, but " ... Golden State is happy to meet with Claremont officials to discuss ways in which it can forge a partnership with the city to better serve residents."

Golden State, just a few days earlier, had released a feasibility study that said the water company's local assets are worth as much as $204 million.

Claremont has recently hinted at using eminent domain to get Golden State Water's assets in the city.

While many in Claremont support the efforts by council members to purchase the assets, they do not include Stop the Claremont Water Grab, a program of The California Alliance to Protect Private Property Rights.

Alliance member Marko Mlikotin said he hopes the meeting will help residents understand the cost associated with acquiring the water company.

"How much will it cost and if local residents will benefit with lower water rates or not?" Mlikotin said.

The group recently sent a mailer to Claremont residents suggesting that the use of eminent domain will increase their water bills.

"The purpose of the taking is to reduce water rates," Mlikotin said. "But its proponents aren't saying that. What is the purpose of taking it if it doesn't lead to lower rates?"

Councilman Sam Pedroza has said rates would not immediately fall after a sale, but "they may eventually, once initial costs are paid down."

Groups that support the takeover, such as The Claremonters Against Outrageous Water Rates, said all they want is a fair and reasonable price for water.

"Look at our surrounding cities and see they are paying half, or even less, for their water," Hal Hargrave and Randy Scott said in a Jan. 29 letter sent to the Daily Bulletin.

"On average, our water rates have increased 11 percent per year for the last seven years. Who is looking out for the Claremont ratepayer?"


Reach Wes at via email, call him at 909-483-8549, or find him on Twitter @ClaremontNow.