I helped circulate the petition to allow people to vote in November on the Paso Robles City water rate plan. People did get the chance to vote, and measure A-09 was defeated.
The current situation that invites scrutiny is that for years residents were continually assured by Paso city officials that there was plenty of water for growth. We are now being told by the city manager that we have no choice but to pay for this project because there is a “desperate need for water.” To this day no development project has been turned down by the city council because of a shortage of water. In fact, if the housing bubble hadn’t stopped development, our representatives would likely have Paso growing three times faster than the rest of the county.
The important question for our citizens to consider isn’t “did growth require more water?” Instead, residents should focus their attention on the question: “How much should existing residents have to pay to subsidize population growth?” The residents of Paso Robles have the moral if not the constitutional right to determine what that level should be.
Given the fact that the average resident’s income level in Paso Robles is far below any other incorporated city in the county, I would think that if the city council were going to subsidize anything, it would be to find ways to increase employment and growth in the earnings level for our residents, not increasing the cost of living on people struggling financially to raise a family or to live on a fixed income, by saddling them with paying for growth.