Morro Bay water rates to double and then some

March 30, 2015

morro bay plantMorro Bay water bills will more than double over the next five years, and they will be accompanied by a similar increase in sewer rates. [Tribune]

Last week, the Morro Bay City Council unanimously approved a new rate structure that will increase the water bill for a typical family from $33.20 a month to $75.50 by July 2019. Over the same period, a typical monthly sewer bill will rise from $45.59 to $83.

The typical family, which uses about 150 gallons of water a day, will begin paying $50 a month this July. The monthly bill will increase to $65.50, or nearly double the current cost, by July 2017.

The city has not raised water rates in 20 years. Both city management and council members are placing blame for the sharp increase on past councils, saying they should have gradually raised rates.

City staff estimate the water system will need about $9 million in infrastructure improvements over the next decade. The city’s aging sewage treatment system will require about $10 million worth of maintenance.

Additionally, Morro Bay is attempting to build a new sewage treatment plant, which is estimated to cost about $75 million. The city initially planned to rebuild its current plant, but the Morro Bay council changed course after the California Coastal Commission rejected a reconstruction proposal.

Morro Bay ratepayers could still stage a protest to overturn the coming rate hikes, but more than 50 percent of ratepayers would have to formally object to the proposed increases. A ratepayer protest hearing is scheduled for May 26.



  1. taxpayer says:

    Next up: The current City Council can hire another consultant to tell us how we need more affordable housing.

    (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down
  2. Rich in MB says:

    Much to do about nothing….
    If you can’t afford to Live in Morro Bay or California LEAVE and go to Arizona, Texas, or Montana.

    (-9) 9 Total Votes - 0 up - 9 down
    • Rich in MB says:

      that’s the Liberals attitude…pay or leave, we are sick of hearing you whine, now lets bring in some more Illegal immigrants to subsidize my produce!

      (3) 9 Total Votes - 6 up - 3 down
    • tomsquawk says:

      that is what i tell my wife. you have to pay to play out here. call it the sunshine haircut

      (-1) 5 Total Votes - 2 up - 3 down
    • racket says:

      The Morro Bay locals must feel like Native Americans, priced out of their homeland and chased to the reservation n AZ, MT and TX.

      (7) 7 Total Votes - 7 up - 0 down
    • taxpayer says:

      You must be on the current City Council.

      (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
  3. Myself says:

    It seems pretty strange that past council’s didn’t raise the rates,the rates should have been raised slightly every couple years, so that tells me that the city was doing fine with the upgrades to the sewar plant,the desal plant and paying for state water the last few years with no problems,maybe our monies were managed correctly.
    What its starting to look like is that this city is heading toward unincorporation,what with the large cost of an unneeded moving of the sewer plant, the moving of dispatch of the Police and Fire to the Sherriffs office,now you can’t even get a phone call into the MB police Dept without going thru the Sheriff’s office,next will be giving the fire dept over to cal fire,they can’t even manage their own mess,so given a couple years kiss the City of MB fye fye.

    (7) 9 Total Votes - 8 up - 1 down
    • mbfog says:

      The sewer rates were raised in 2007 in anticipation of the originally proposed wastewater project based upon estimates at the time. So you can see it is quite disingenuous of the current council to claim they are making up for prior council’s mis-steps. This further reveals the true character of the current council.

      (7) 9 Total Votes - 8 up - 1 down
  4. mbfog says:

    Ummm, helllllooooo… this is from the Trib article: “Sewage treatment rates in Morro Bay haven’t gone up since 2007.”
    If you live here, you know your bill is comprised of both water charges and sewer charges. Funny how Buckingharm and MayorPartTime Johnson both fail to mention this as they spout their political bile in an attempt to cast blame on others- prior councils- while not taking responsibility for their own actions and miscalculations.
    And Buckingharm… I know you are new to the city management game. Very new (nice hiring job, council). But even a neophyte city manager should know to avoid the political rhetoric and spin game.

    (7) 13 Total Votes - 10 up - 3 down
  5. kkeene88 says:

    Taxpayer, what do you mean some of the sewer costs are being transferred to the water bills – is that the reason for the 900K deficit? And how and when did that deficit occur and what has the council and administrator done to address that? There’s some more sleuthing to be had here CCN.

    (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
    • taxpayer says:

      This is happening at the present time. This won’t be the last increase in your bills.
      They’ve known about it for over 3 years. They’ve done nothing to address it. There is so much corruption and incompetence going on with the current City Council of Irons, Smuckler, Johnson, Heading and the school teacher who is Smuckler’s stooge that the city is in for years and years of rate increases. Can anyone name one project that Irons, Johnson and Smuckler have taken from inception to completion? Please don’t say the parklet. David Buckingham is a yes man, who knows nothing about California or Municipal law, who was brought in to do the Mayor’s bidding. By the way, the sewer costs don’t include any storage facilities, property purchases or additional work that will need to be done. Before this is over, Morro Bay will look worse than Los Osos did for 35 years. Also, if Cayucos pulls out of the project, the taxpayers will be on the hook for millions in additional costs.
      Their next step in getting a building moratorium is getting rid of state water. This council is a ship of fools.

      (10) 16 Total Votes - 13 up - 3 down
  6. taxpayer says:

    Just one more step by this City Council to rid Morro Bay of seniors and others on fixed incomes. This current group of city leaders is doing everything they can to change Morro Bay from a middle class worker’s town into a town where only the well off can live. Their goal of driving business out of town is working. Nonprofits are moving to town. Next, there will be a building moratorium caused by these incompetent people. They’re transferring some of the costs of the sewer plant onto the water bills. If the citizen’s don’t wake up soon, they’re going to be in a world of hurt.

    (11) 17 Total Votes - 14 up - 3 down
  7. racket says:

    Tempest in a teapot.

    Double the water bill, and it’s still … … … CHEAP.

    While I think the council majority are often mis-guided, this is not an instance of that. Perhaps it should have been done years ago, but it wasn’t, so it’s getting done now.

    (-7) 17 Total Votes - 5 up - 12 down

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