Morro Bay approves water rate hike

Posted at 5:45 PM, Sep 12, 2018

Residents and businesses in the Morro Bay will see a spike in their water and sewer rates.

Beginning on July 1, 2019 an increase of $41 per month will take effect.

Sophie Sun who owns China Dragon Restaurant in Morro Bay will see this increase, which will range from 28 to 32 percent. She says she already pays $600 a month on average. During the busier seasons, it’s much higher.

"Of course, the other bad news is that you’re going to pass it to the consumer whenever the price is going up because you can’t pay the bills," Sun explained. "You have to balance everything out."

With an increase looming, Sun says as a result, prices will have to go up on her menu. She’s thinking of her customers, and she says she can only increase prices so much.
Switching to paper plates to cut costs is not an option.

"You have to keep your plates hot, you can’t use the paper plates and then the same time keep it hot in the kitchen so to me, it sounds like it’s mission impossible."

Sun waters her plants with leftover water from her tables. She also works extra hours during the slower times.
The new rates will foot the bill for a new wastewater plant because the current one no longer meets requirements.

"We’ve been required to move it inland by the Coastal Commission and we’re required to build a new facility by the Water Quality Control Board," explained City Manager, Scott Collins.

Meantime, Sun says she’s working to figure out how she’s going to make it all work explaining that the annual increase in minimum wage is also hard to do.

"What can you do? You just can’t shut the door and close the business and move to somewhere else. It’s difficult. it’s going to be difficult for sure."

The community had 60 days to submit a form to protest the hike.

The city says it received 2,150 forms. 2,800 were needed to stop the increase.

Collins adds that the city is looking into grants and low-interest loans to reduce the rate of $41/month. The project has a cost of $126,000,000.

Those with low income are able to submit a form to also get a 10% discount.