Morro Bay water rates to double and then some
March 30, 2015
Morro 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.