Cayucos backs out of sewage plant deal with Morro Bay

May 4, 2015

morro bay plantFollowing a rift over plant ownership, the Cayucos Sanitary District has opted to scrap its plan to join the city of Morro Bay in building a new sewage treatment facility. [KSBY]

For the past 62 years, Morro Bay and Cayucos have jointly owned a wastewater treatment plant located in Morro Bay near the ocean. Morro Bay has a 60 percent stake in the plant, and Cayucos has 40 percent ownership.

In December, the Cayucos district board approved a joint powers agreement to build a new plant on a Chorro Valley ranch near Highway 41. The Morro Bay City Council selected the location for the new plant, which will cost approximately $75 million to build, after the California Coastal Commission rejected the city’s initial plan to reconstruct the existing facility.

On Thursday, the Cayucos board voted to pull out of the agreement with Morro Bay and to attempt to build its own sewage plant instead.

District General Rick Koon said Cayucos was not offered any ownership stake in or governance of the new plant. The district was asked to make a 28 percent capital investment, though, Koon said.

The Cayucos general manager said ownership of a new plant would allow the sanitary district to control its own rates.

Sewer bills for Morro Bay residents are expected to nearly double over the next four years. The Morro Bay Council approved the new rate structure, which includes an even larger increase in water bills, prior to Cayucos deciding to pull out of the wastewater plant project.

Morro Bay City Manger David Buckingham said he is disappointed Cayucos decided to suspend the partnership.


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It’s going to be a sick sort of poetic justice if Cayucos is able to put $5 million into the existing plant and have a cheap solution for itself, while MB is wallowing in spending it’s children’s inheritance.

It’s just amazing that a small number of people still think that anyone is going to be able to stay at that existing plant. It’s not going to happen because the CCC is not going to allow that plant to stay active in a location that has such high risk of flooding.. That was always a really stupid place for a sewer plant, and most people have figured that out..

It seems that you are the only one that thinks its a bad place the plant, why don’;t you come up with the money to build it else where,that looks like an excellent place to put it, the outfall line is alrready there,have you heard anything ofr the new out fall line and any permitting that it will take to put it in place.

2013 Recall Mayor Irons flier:

“Morro Bay cannot afford Mayor Irons. $100 HIGHER sewer bills. Mayor Jamie Irons’ “cost effective” waste water treatment plant will cost $90-160 million ($23,000 per household) just to build. Your bill increase $100 per month OR MORE.”

The recall people were wrong—it’s going to cost A LOT MORE.

You get what you voted for Moron Bay. Go Mayor Irons! M.B. loves you!

Ironic is it not…that the Pro-Irons folks said the flier was a LIE…ha ha ha.

Now that the flier and those that attempted out oust Mayor Irons have been proven right, yet again, it’s time for the MB Taxpayers that supported the Irons Regime to step up and PAY to Poop!

Go back and read the 2009 flood hazard study that the consultants working for your pals had done. At that time, they were considering upgrading the existing plant. Then the study came in and even they understood that would never work.

Even they fully understood that they had to build a new plant. Then some genius got the idea of building the new plant next door to the old one. That scheme would have violated Morro Bay’s own zoning, its own Local Coastal Program and General Plan, and the State Coastal Act.

Those in control of the City at that time still tried to force through that bad idea, and the Coastal Commission stepped in and took over permitting for the project.

The plant has to be moved inland, period. Despite the attempts of a small number of people to convince everyone otherwise, most people get it. Doing the right thing isn’t always easy. That’s probably why the prior administrations made irresponsible decisions and got voted out of office. They tried to take the easy way out and it didn’t work out well for them.

“The plant has to be moved inland, period”

Question; History of the current plant would show whether it was a bad place for a plant of it’s type, do you have any information on spills due to tide swells and flooding? Would a new state of the art plant next to the existing plant be a risk to Estero Bay? If so what level of risk? Is that risk worth the extra cost?

I would be interested in the coastal commission’s reasoning for costing us millions of extra dollars. I’m asking because I don’t know the answers to those questions. I for one believe the Coastal Commission can be a little extreme. It’s not their money. It also seems to me that a spill up hill is as bad as a spill at the bottom of the hill so does moving it upstream make sense?

You sound as if you are convinced in your opinion and knowledgeable of the whole debate so that is why I’m asking you.

You put way too much stock into what some piss ant agency has to say and then you go around buying into it, whne those agencys put up the dollars to move the sewer plant then they can tell us what to do,upgrading and rebuilding the plat where its at will be fine we’ve had a hundred year flood and it didn’t hurt a thing,this boondoggle is going to have cost overruns into the millions and just how do you think we’ll pay for it.

The plant is old and decrepit and in a high-risk location. It has to be replaced. Most people understand that. Had prior administrations done the responsible thing and raised the water and sewer bills gradually and socked money away for this project, there would be no need for a large increase now. The need for a large increase at this point is not the fault of the current Council. It’s just another mess left by former mayors and councils that left the town and its finances in a bad situation.

Morro Bay is better off without the CSD – WAY better off. The CSD has caused a huge waste of Morro Bay taxpayer money and significantly delayed the project. For example, the CSD’s insistence on looking into the ridiculously expensive and impractical CMC option delayed the project for months and cost Morro Bay taxpayers $87,000. The CSD refused to pay any of that.

This latest announcement appears to be just one more game the CSD is playing to try to get its way. They want to control the project, but they don’t want to pay their share – which has been typical throughout the whole history of the shared WWTP.

Morro Bay offered to let them pay 30% of the new plant cost, while Morro Bay would cover the remaining 70%. However, although they would have paid just 30% of the cost, Cayucos wanted 50% of the control – and they complain about fairness? ridiculous! Just last year (see the CSD’s May 15, 2014 minutes) their own district manager said that being a customer would be the easiest thing, and they could then invest the money saved in the community. Now they pretend to be offended when Morro Bay wants them to be a customer.

Has the CSD been a good partner, or even a good neighbor so far? No. Aside from not wanting to pay their share, they have not shown a lot of concern for the health and safety of Morro Bay residents. For about a decade, toxic hydrogen sulfide gas from their sewer trunk line down Main Street was escaping from manholes and polluting the air in Morro Bay. People complained again and again over the years but it was only this year that Cayucos finally fixed the problem – under duress, I suspect.

Recently, the CSD made a ridiculous attempt to portray themselves as more clever than Morro Bay because it took them a mere $20,000 and a few months to do their sewer plant study, while Morro Bay took two years and over $400,000. What the CSD failed to mention was that their own consultant told them that their little “study” – actually a “technical memorandum” did not include major, necessary work.

Their consultant said, “Typically, there are a series of work steps taken prior to developing conceptual alternatives that WSC will not be addressing in this work, ie meeting with regulatory agencies to determine the regulatory constraints in which the concepts will be developed. These typical steps can be time consuming to develop but would lead to a superior work product.”

Their consultant further told the CSD, “is focusing this scope of work on development of alternatives to provide the District with some “book end” alternatives and cost information that the District can use to inform its future decision making process. The preliminary conceptual alternatives will be suitable to that end, but could likely have significant flaws that further analysis and evaluation might uncover. The District will need to refine and develop these preliminary conceptual alternatives through future study and effort.”

Obviously, the CSD did not do the kind of work necessary to ensure a good work product, but yet they tried to portray their work as superior because their so-called study was done with less money and in less time – again, ridiculous.

Is Morro Bay really rid of those characters for good? I wish that were the case, but this looks more like a melodramatic attempt to get out of paying for work done so far – and to coerce Morro Bay taxpayers into continuing to allow Cayucos have half the project control but pay WAY less than half the costs. Their resolution, read at the last JPA meeting says “Cayucos hereby declares its intention to suspend consideration of participation in the Morro Bay WRF Project…” Note the word, “suspend.” They did not say, “terminate”.

Cayucos is better off without Moron Bay. Way better off. Morro Bay has been a terrible neighbor, strong-arming Cayucos into footing the bill for Irons’ over-price boondoggle. Now, M.B. gets to pay Irons themselves. If you think that’s the right track, Enjoy.

Way to go, Cayucos!

Go for it, Cuyucians! You’ll be happy paying at least twice as much, if not more.

Cayucos has ONE function. Send their shit to Morro Bay. Morro Bay has one function. To take their shit.

Cayucos needs a different level of treatment from their WWTP, because their shit don’t stink.

This should not come as a surprise to anyone who is familiar with the situation. Unlike

the Jamie Irons regime in Morro Bay, the folks in Cayucos look at the wastewater

treatment system issue in a logical and rational manner.

On the other hand, the Irons crowd lives in a bizarre fantasy world in which whatever

they would like to see happen can be magically and affordably conjured up with a simple

wave of their inane political wands.

The Irons people wanted to be able to make all the decisions, have all the control, and

expect the Cayucos taxpayers to help pay for it all. Welcome to the real world, Irons.

Now, actually, the best thing for the Morro Bay residents and taxpayers would be to

oust the Irons idiots and ask to join whatever wastewater treatment plan that Cayucos

comes up with.

Not disappointed enough to give Cayucos a stake in something they’re being asked to spend millions of dollars on.

So now without the additional shared sacrifice with the town of Cayucos will the rates in Morro Bay triple? quadruple? Why is it that our current mayor and board of supervisors seems to be at a loss when it comes to working with people? Just force everything down the throats of others. I wonder where they learned that form of governance…

So now what happens to the protest vote? Maybe it should be rescheduled so we can get another estimate and give the people of Morro Bay time to digest the new outrageous numbers.

The Protest vote will be a “Do Over” if the money needed increases….

So lets review shall we….

The City of Morro Bay bungles the sewer plant so badly that our good neighbors in Cayucas say…”this smells…we are outta here” and now where will that extra money come from with Cayucas pulling out?

You guessed it….from the rate payers in Morro Bay…who elected these Clowns in Morro Bay City Government?

Oh…that would be the Morro Bay sewer and rate payers…ha ha ha…the Chickens, as they say, are coming home to roost.

But rejoice, you have a Parklet that took away public parking spaces for the benefit of a Coffee Shop….oh the Joy.

Regarding the parklet, I’ve heard that the bookstore had over 900 signatures on their anti-parklet petition…was there an online method to sign the petition or did they go door to door gathering signatures? If not, where did those 900 people park?

I would rather see full parking spaces in front of my museum, if they’re empty, no one is out and about shopping, etc.

I think that all of us who post here should get together for an “in person – real world” meeting, as we seem to have all the answers. It should only take us a couple of hours to get all of Morro Bay’s problems fixed!

Smile, it’s another beautiful day in Morro Bay.

Then our identities would be revealed and we could no longer behave like asses online.

I wonder if the douchiness of the parklet, and the inability of the Parks Director to pretend the emperor is wearing clothes has something to do with his termination.