Board President Elden Hughes objected to the doctors’ description of his district. “I do not think the board has been negligent,” Hughes said. “Over the years I’ve seen us rebuild well fields, enlarge our reservoirs and rebuild our warehouse and office building.” The board raised its rates because money was needed for a five-year $5.6 million capital improvement plan, including the replacement of a 60-year-old water line that burst in June, Hughes said. “It should not have blown, but it did,” he said of the event that flooded one house and damaged six others. Work is expected to begin early in 2008. SOUTH WHITTIER – When Drs. Phil Klingsheim and Mike Winters saw their August water bills for their optometry and dental practices, they saw red. The water bill for the office they own, 11311 La Mirada Blvd., had doubled from the previous statement. It’s why the two went to Wednesday’s meeting of the Orchard Dale Water District Board of Directors to complain. “We could not believe the percentage increase,” Klingsheim told the board of the bill that went from $307 to $668. They pay every other month. “In our opinion the magnitude of this increase becomes exploitation,” said Klingsheim, an optometrist. “How any business or utility can be so grossly neglectful of deferred maintenance through the years and then suddenly decide `we need to catch up on capital costs and/or improvements’ smacks of fiduciary negligence.” The board approved rate increases for homes and commercial buildings at a May 31 public hearing. Only six people showed up and no one complained, said Tom Coleman, general manager for the district. The district in unincorporated South Whittier has 4,208 customers and serves about 20,000 residents. It has a $3.2 million annual budget. The rate increase is expected to generate about $700,000 annually. All rates were increased, but commercial ones went up substantially more than for homeowners. The district raised the monthly service charge on homeowners with a five-eighths-inch or three-quarter-inch meters from $10 to $15.05. But two-inch meter rate – the one the doctors have at their office – increased from $39 to $317. Larger customers received a higher percentage raise because in the past residential customers had been subsidizing the larger customers. Winters said there may be one possible solution to their problem: they could change out the two-inch meter to a one-inch meter. It would save them about $368. Coleman said if the doctors could get permission from Los Angeles County, it would have no problem with the change. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3022160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!