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Grover Beach residents to pay more for water, face additional increases

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Grover Beach residents will soon be paying more for water. A 25 percent rate hike was approved Monday, affecting 7,000 homes and businesses. 
 
The average water bill in Grover Beach is about $130 for a two-month billing cycle. 
 
"35 years ago, my bi-monthly water rate was about $15. Now it's over $100 and I guess it's going to be over $200 pretty soon," said longtime resident Kerry Zeller.
 
He's trying to wrap his head around the city's upcoming water rate hikes. 
 
On Monday, in a 4-1 vote, the city council approved a 25 percent rate increase this July. Another 25 percent increase is possible this October if the council approves it.
 
"It's a little shocking. Over 50 percent in a couple years, and we've all been conserving," continued Zeller. 
 
It might not stop there, either. Additional 6 percent annual increases for the years 2018, 2019, and 2020 are also on the table. 
 
It's all based off a study done earlier this year. 
 
"What the study found is, our current rates do not provide enough revenue," said Grover Beach City Manager Matt Bronson. 
 
According to Bronson, revenue generated from the rate increases will pay for the current cost of the water system and an estimated $7 million in capital projects. This includes upgrades to aging infrastructure. 
 
"We have water pipes that are leaking and not sufficient to maintain water pressure to our customers," said Bronson. 

The last rate increase equaled about two to three percent back in 2010 and was due to inflation. 

Fixed-income resident Michael Burnahm is not happy. 
 
"It just takes money out of my pocket every time they do this and my pay never goes up," said Burnahm.   

While others like the idea of repairing city infrastructure, they wish the money would go elsewhere. 
 
"I'd like to see more energy put into our streets," concluded Zeller.
 
The city is bound by Prop. 218 to provide at least 45 days notice before the council acts on a rate increase. The city manager says this was met as each water customer was given a notice in the mail. 
 

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