Los Osos wastewater customers can expect higher rates in July, after the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a $4.79 monthly increase.
That amount represents the most the county could increase rates without going through a Prop 218 protest vote process that would allow parcel owners to protest the rate hike. The increase, which went into effect July 1, is for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019.
According to county staff, the average rate for a single-family dwelling will be $167 a month, starting in July. That amount will be collected through property tax bills for the parcels located in the Los Osos Sewer Service Area.
The rate increase comes as Los Osos residents are required to hook up to the new water recycling facility, which began operation in 2016, or face potential fines from the county.
County staff reported that more than 96 percent of Los Osos residents had connected to the facility as of July 2. Of the 167 parcels yet to do so, 64 are waiting for federal grant money to pay for the hook up and 30 more are in the process of connecting.
$10 million settlement
One question that has yet to be answered is who will pay for the county’s nearly $10 million settlement with ARB, Inc., one of two contractors that installed pipelines as part of the new plant.
The company sued the county, alleging it was short-changed for work done. That led to the county agreeing to a $9.95 million settlement to prevent the legal proceedings from dragging on any further.
While Los Osos residents will ultimately be expected to foot the bill in some way, it’s unclear what form that will take.
Supervisor Bruce Gibson, whose North Coast district includes Los Osos, said, “Our efforts to find a way to restructure the loans continue with the State Resources Control Board.”
Gibson said the board would likely provide answers sometime in the next year.