San Luis Obispo city officials unanimously approve water and sewer rate increases

(UI) — The city of San Luis Obispo, located in California, unanimously voted to proceed with a proposed plan, resulting in a two-year increase in water service rates for users, with a favorable vote of 5-0.

Water rates will increase by 8.5% in 2023–2024, and then by another 7.5% in 2024–2025. The first rate adjustment will go into effect on July 1st, 2023.

These rate increases were suggested by San Luis Obispo's Utilities Department, and the City Council approved them. According to a presentation by the department, the decision was driven by a number of considerations, including the costs associated with water supply, power use, and the price of chemicals used in water treatment.

If 8,265 valid protests were submitted, which would have satisfied the constitutionally required 50%-plus-1 threshold, Council could not have approved the proposed tariffs. Less than 1,300 legitimate protests were submitted.

The proposed sewage rate increases, which would be 4% in both the fiscal years '23-'24 and '24-'25, were likewise approved by a vote of 5-0.

The suggestion made by consulting firm HDR Engineering, Inc., who created the draft report for the city's water rate study, was approved by a vote of the people.

As more than 85% of the expenditures to deliver water and wastewater are fixed, the department observed that greater rainfall and water supply do not result in lower rates for water customers. The department presentation stated that "macroeconomic supply-chain problems and inflation have had significant impacts on the cost of delivering water and sewer services."

Members of the City Council expressed a wish to examine potential modifications to the water tariff structure for the two-year financial plan from 25 to 27.

The Utilities Department said that by obtaining more than $20 million in grants to lower water and sewer consumption for consumers, the financial burden on city citizens has been significantly decreased.

The Customer Assistance Program (CAP), a financial aid program provided by the City of San Luis Obispo, can help clients with their regular water and sewer payments. A 15% discount is available to eligible participants on each monthly payment.

This story was originally published by KSBY News.

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