The chairwoman of the Indian Hills General Improvement District said she opposed increasing water rates because she felt there wasn't enough public input into the process.
District trustees voted 4-1 to increase the administrative fee by $17.77 a month on Nov. 9. Dianne Humble was the sole vote against the increase.
"I wanted to attend the water rate committee meeting, both as a chair and a resident, to see what the conclusion was on raising the rates," she said. "As chairwoman I have people asking me questions about these things when I'm at the mailboxes."
Humble said she and district manager Jim Taylor are exploring the possibility that rates could be modified to give people on fixed incomes a break, but she didn't know how that would work out.
"I don't necessarily feel it's unfair, but we need to make concessions for people on fixed incomes."
The increase will help pay for three previous bonds, and will pay the cost of a pipeline from Minden that will help the district bring its water back below federal standards for arsenic.
"This problem is because the federal government mandated something, but they didn't fund it," she said. "If they fund it, it makes sense to me. When they do something without funding it, who do you think is going to pay for it? The people are going to pay for it."
The federal government changed the arsenic standard from 50 parts per billion to 10 parts per billion in 2002. Indian Hills water has 17 parts per billion. Until last summer, the district's efforts focused on building some sort of treatment plant to fix the problem. But a proposal for a pipeline between Minden and Carson City raised the possibility that the district wouldn't have to treat its water.
That pipeline will have to cross Highway 395, Kirman Field wetlands and the Carson River.
Indian Hills' portion of the cost for the pipeline between Minden and Carson and extending the pipeline across the river is estimated at $5 million.
Humble said she has requested an audience with the governor to discuss getting some stimulus money to help pay for the pipeline and perhaps reduce residents' rates.