Wastewater rates are going up in Paso Robles.
Less than two dozen written protests were submitted to the Paso Robles City Council, which conducted a protest hearing Nov. 15. It would have taken half of all the water customers plus one to stop the increase. The rates will gradually rise for the next five years.
The city desperately needs more money for its wastewater fund, which operates with a growing deficit. The state Regional Water Quality Control Board fines the city approximately $9,000 a month for discharge violations. City staffers claim that until improvements are made to the wastewater plant, fines could increase to $10,000 per day.
The rate increases will be used to help pay for the treatment plant upgrade.
The price for the upgrade is steep. The cost is estimated to top $49 million, and additional improvements will cost another $32 million over the next 14 years. On top of this, the city will be making debt payments on the Nacimiento Water Project at a cost of $12 million a year.