Morro Bay approves rate hike for sewage plant despite protest

September 13, 2018

Morro Bay ratepayers submitted about 2,150 of the approximately 2,800 protest votes needed to stop a controversial water and sewer rate hike that will go toward funding the city’s planned sewage treatment plant project. Still, the Morro Bay City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the rate hike. [Cal Coast Times]

Starting in July 2019, residential customers in Morro Bay will pay a combined $41 more for their monthly water and sewer bills. The rate hike levies $25 and $16 surcharges respectively on single-family homes’ sewer and water bills.

Ratepayers who live in apartment and condominium units will receive sewer surcharges of $20 and water surcharges of $12.80, hiking their monthly bills by a total of $32.80. Commercial customers will likewise get hit with rate increases.

Following the rate hike, a single-family home with average water usage will pay a combined utility bill of $191 a month. The utility bills for single-family homes with low and high water usage will be $168 and $233.50 respectively.

The city says it may be able to reduce the surcharges if it can lower project costs or obtain additional grants or low-interest financing.

Morro Bay’s approximately $126 million sewage treatment plant project consists of building a water reclamation facility near the intersection of Highway 1 and South Bay Boulevard. City residents and officials have clashed for years over both the location and cost of the project.

Previously, the California Coastal Commission ordered Morro Bay to move its now 65-year-old wastewater treatment plant away from the coast. Recently, the Regional Water Quality Control Board ordered the city to build a new facility within five years.

On Tuesday, Morro Bay held a Proposition 218 hearing, in line with state law, giving ratepayers the opportunity to upend the rate hike if a majority of them would submit protest votes against the pending water and sewer rate increases. After the protest vote failed, the Morro Bay City Council formally approved the rate hike.


The Central Coast Cities are nickel and diming middle class people out of the community. $50 bucks here, a sales tax there, gas hike here, bus fee charges for an 8 year old to go to school. Add that to many employers under paying with relation to the cost of living here and mathematically there comes a point when it doesn’t make financial sense to stay here. SLO County will become even more of a playground for white, rich retirees who have disdain for those who want to play on the beaches, will hate the sand for blowing, and then complain because they have to wait for hours in the ER, or they will have to wait 30 minutes to be seated at a restaurant because these establishments are short staffed. 

People can only be so frugal, and then the budget cuts hit the essentials.


Sounds like a chitty decision butt this issue can’t be kept backed up (constipated) any longer.

mb business owner

We can thank Christine Johnson, Noah Smuckler and Irons for this mess. When the project was blown up at the coastal commission Irons stated 10 to 15,000,000 more than the estimated 37 million. Now it’s up to 126 million and will continue to grow. Hope those 3 individuals are ashamed-they should be!


Is this accurate? MB is billed monthly and not bi-monthly?



Pay now or pay big later…we have Los Osos as an example of what happens when you delay the inevitable…


218 Votes should be held to be illegal anyway, a majority of registered voters have to vote against it, like voting ever has a 100% turnout:(

It was a way to get around Proposition 13 protections, Morro Bay should be ashamed of themselves for not giving it a true vote, when they knew it was such a controversial decision!!!

The Boondoggle has begun, they keep pushing towards this goal of unnecessarily moving the Plant from it’s current location, blaming it on the Coastal Commission:(

Jorge Estrada

Pay close attention to how it was advertised. Was it included in the previous bill, pros and cons? Your bill is the only forum that everyone reads so what was it?


Following the rate hike, a single-family home with average water usage will pay a combined utility bill of $191 a month. PG&E maybe $100 give or take on the low end, gasoline is as high as it gets, property tax 1%+ on a $500,000 starter home, rents $2000 for a dump, sales tax at 7.75% on the low end and you cant comprehend why the middle class is bailing out? Cant see the forest for the trees can you?


Not true…the rate for single family homes will be less than $50 a month…businesses will pay more but they have prospered mightily from the tourist industry….more butts means more toilets…lets be grown up here lets not be infantile like so many were in Los Osos…


The increase will be less than $50 a month…to clarify my last reply…