New Paso Robles water rates go into effect in January

Paso Robles residents will have new water rates starting in January, because the increase City Council adopted last month wasn't officially protested by today's deadline.

Rates will rise from $1.32 to $2.50 per unit of water, which is 748 gallons. Rates then increase gradually in subsequent years before reaching $4.40 per unit in 2015.

The city has tried five times over several years to successfully increase the rates, which have changed in each attempt.

The new rates — an increased flat-rate structure that charges everyone the same amount per gallon — are now final and are expected to show up on customers' water bills beginning Jan. 1.

The public had 30 days from the City Council's unanimous April approval of the new uniform rates that dropped an unpopular fixed fee that appears on customers‚ bills now.

Last year, Concerned Citizens for Paso Robles spearheaded a petition on a previous set of rates. It gathered 1,728 signatures — 11.3 percent of Paso Robles' registered voters, according to the county clerk-recorder — and led the city into an election where the proposed rate increase ultimately failed.

This time, though, the approximately 10-member citizens group didn't file a signature petition to the city by the 5 p.m. Friday deadline, City Manager Jim App said.

Instead, the group is likely pursuing additional legal actions against the city.

After the failed election, city staff proposed three new plans, one of which the City Council accepted and is now adopted into city law.

Check back Saturday to read more about Paso Robles' water rates, or pick up Saturday's edition of The Tribune.