Water and sewer rates could soon increase significantly in Morro Bay.
It’s all to pay for the water reclamation facility project.
Beginning this week, a four-page notice will be mailed to residents explaining the details of the potential water and sewer rate hikes.
It’s part of the process approved unanimously by the city council on Tuesday night.
"It’s already difficult enough. I mean, my plants, this is a plum tree and it hasn’t produced any fruit this year because I haven’t been able to water it much," said Vickey Battles who has rented her home in Morro Bay for six years.
"If I have to pay more not only for water and rent, it’s going to be very difficult like, I’ll just have to be forced to move," she said.
Under the proposed rate increase, residents like Battles would pay an additional $41 per month for sewer and water.
This will help pay for a new water reclamation facility needed to meet water quality control regulations and other requirements.
"If we fail in this 218 process and are unable to move forward with the project, we could be facing some significant fines," said Scott Collins, Morro Bay City Manager.
This week, mailers are going out to 5,700 parcels. From now through August 28, property owners and customers can submit written protests.
"If we receive 50 percent plus one of the parcels that are out there, a protest, then the rate increases would not move forward," Collins said.
If the city receives less than that amount within the 45 days, then the rate increases would move forward.
Property owner Donald Kleckner plans on protesting.
"I rent a couple of places for as little as $550 a month, that’s water included, and if it goes up another $41, that’s got to come from someone," Kleckner said.
He says he’ll have to increase rent for his tenants by 10 percent.
"I know it’s going to hurt a lot of my friends and family here because my daughter also lives in Morro Bay because it’s also difficult for her as it is, too," Battles said.
The charge is expected to last 30 years. If passed, it would go into effect July 1, 2019.
The city is also offering office hours next week so residents can learn more about how they might be impacted.
The last opportunity to submit a written protest will be at the public hearing on August 28 at 6 p.m. at the Vet’s Hall.