Group files lawsuit over Paso Robles water rate increases

Five members of the Paso Robles-based citizens group that's historically been against the city's increased water rates filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against the city.

They claim wrongdoing in how the city adopted its newest set of water rates to pay for its portion of the Nacimiento Water Project. The rates were finalized last week and will start appearing on water bills in January.

The suit, filed in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court, formerly summarizes the group's main sticking point over the last several years - which the city has long disputed.

It says that the city should refer to the rate increases as a special tax, not as a charge on a water bill.

"The city finds no merit in the argument," City Manager Jim App said, "and will aggressively defend its actions."

In October 2008, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association said that while the law does not mandate these types of charges as special taxes, the association prefers it to be a tax.

In a statement, Borst said he and the other four petitioners will "rely upon the wisdom of the court to correct what they believe is an attack on their liberties, rights of citizenship and economic welfare."

The Superior Court has set a hearing date on the issue in its Paso Robles branch for 10:30 a.m. July 6. -Tonya Strickland