Los Osos, SLO propose water rate increases - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Los Osos, SLO propose water rate increases

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Water tanks in Los Osos. (KSBY photo) Water tanks in Los Osos. (KSBY photo)

The drought emergency is over and Central Coast lakes and reservoirs are brimming, yet two communities are looking to increase water rates.

Los Osos and the City of San Luis Obispo are looking to increase rates this summer, but the two will affect customers much differently.

The City of San Luis Obispo wants to tack on a 5-percent volume charge for one year. 

"The cost of doing business doesn't change, it goes up every year," said Carrie Mattingly, utilities director for the City of San Luis Obispo.  

City officials say it's to support ongoing maintenance and regulations. While they're increasing one portion of the bill, they're getting rid of another: the drought surcharge.

"It added another 15 percent on to the bill and brought us to a revenue neutral place. Now we are removing it because those reservoirs are full," Mattingly said. 

Here's a typical water bill comparison for the City of San Luis Obispo:

1 unit = 748 gallons

Current Bill: 6 Units = $58.10 July 1, 2017: 6 units = $55.95

Current Bill: 12 units = $114.22 July 1, 2017: 12 units = $106.81

 It's a much different story for Los Osos's water rate increase proposal. 

"We do not waste a drop of water," said Linde Owen, Los Osos resident. She uses a bucket to collect extra water in the shower, buckets to collect rain in the garden, and a tank to store it all.

"I think it's hard on everybody," Owen said. 

The Los Osos Community Services District says it's facing a revenue shortfall and wants to increase water bills by 64 percent within three years. The CSD's agenda states the money is needed to address aging infrastructure and to stabilize the Los Osos Valley Basin, which is threatened by nitrate contamination and seawater intrusion.

The average Los Osos water bill is $107, that would increase to $141 the first year, $158 the second year and $176 the third year.

"We won't be eating out as much; I will not be buying the same," Owen said. "It feels like the quality of life is leaving us as we get these huge bills."

A public hearing will be held to cover the proposed increases for San Luis Obispo and Los Osos.

San Luis Obispo City Council June 6 6:00 p.m. Council Chambers

Los Osos Community Services District  June 15 Time not yet set 2122 9th St., Suite 102

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