BULLETIN: $8 million claim hits Paso water plans

January 9, 2009

A group of North County residents has filed a claim against the city of Paso Robles to recover $8 million in water and sewer fees they say has been improperly levied against property owners and ratepayers for the past six years.

John Borst of Concerned Citizens of Paso Robles (CCPR) said the claim was filed earlier this month for “damages as a result of violations of [state constitutional amendment] Prop. 218.” Four of its members retained the Manhattan Beach law firm of Huskinson, Brown, Heidenreich and Carlin, which specializes in taxpayer refunds and class action lawsuits. Such a claim, almost always denied by city lawmakers, is a precursor to a lawsuit. Paso Robles officials have 45 days to respond.

Borst said the claim states “the city’s collection of water and sewer fees since 2002 are illegal and asks that all collected fees be returned to the claimant and all other similarly situated water and sewer customers.” He noted a similar type of claim against Santa Cruz County’s Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency for $13.5 million “was successfully resolved in favor of ratepayers” in 2008. — By Daniel Blackburn


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Member Opinions:

By: RatPatrol1967 on 1/22/09

No offense to Mr. Gandhi, but I have some additions to his rule. First the County ignores you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you sue, then you win! Power to the people!

By: RatPatrol1967 on 1/22/09

What did the city do that was illegal? They notified the community about the hearing, accepted protest letters, and raised the fee. Article 13D (Prop 218) specifically states that a property owner vote is NOT required to raise fees for water, sewer,or solid waste. If the raise a fee of $0 to $35, it is still legal. That is not a new fee, it is an increase to an existing fee. That is what happened in California Valley and their solid waste. The fee went from $0 to $35 per month, after the General Manager and her cronies got an 'Employee's Benefits Package' the CVCSD cannot afford. Now there is no money in the coffers and the fee was increased to cover the costs of the 'Employees Benefits'. Remember, this district spend more money on their substandard roads than Morro Bay does, and Morro Bay has paved roads! Where is the money? Take a wild guess.

By: Panicmanic on 1/21/09

In the Spirit of Love and Reverance for the poor Paso Robles has now raised your water rates again.

By: FuriousCitizen on 1/12/09

Paso Guy, keep this thought in mind attributed to M. Gandhi: First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win!"

Keep on battling windmills Borst. Like Don Quixote you are better than any of those now sitting on the City council. You are a voice of the disinfranchised in our community.

By: Paso_Guy on 1/11/09

Observation: No one cares about Borst and his battle with the windmills.

By: FuriousCitizen on 1/9/09

If true, it's time to give every member of the City Council, the City Attorney, City Manager and the Director of Public Works their walking papers. This is simply outrageous, morally and politically!

I hope you will keep your readers abreast of things as this matter unfolds. How it turns out will shape this City for years to come! Another great story Dan. Thanks!