County Roundup

Paso Robles

A plot of land once slated for homes on the east side of Paso Robles will now be reserved for a recreation trail.The city has purchased 2.47 acres of land along Charolais Road, in between Creston and South River roads, for $215,000 from Mission Bank using park development money.

The City Council signed off on the purchase Nov. 15. Escrow is slated to close by Dec. 31.

The site will be used to link Charolais Road to the existing Salinas River Parkway trail, planners say.

The property had been approved for a five lot residential subdivision but was foreclosed on by Mission Bank. In August, the plot was listed at $275,000, but that price was reduced after negotiations, according to the city.The city has pursued a number of connections to the popular Parkway trail since it was built in 2005.

In 2012, there will be two additional half-mile trail segments developed through grants or city transportation funds, planner say.

The city’s park development fund currently has a cash balance of $1.1 million, according to the city. That money can only be used for park and recreation uses, not roadwork or salaries.

— Tonya Strickland

Paso Robles

Paso Robles has cleared another hurdle in increasing its sewer charges, as the majority of the city’s 9,972 ratepayers didn’t protest.

Only 20 written protests were received at the city’s Nov. 15 City Council meeting.

The new user rates would scrap the current fixed rate of $25.86 and increase a typical household bill, which generates seven units of sewage per month, to about $54 per month by 2016. A unit is 748 gallons. The rate hikes will be implemented in annual phases over the next five years beginning July 2012.

A second reading of the ordinance is due at the City Council’s Dec. 6 meeting before the law takes effect next year.Connection fees for new developments are also increasing. The hikes will be phased in over five years, going from $5,467 in January to $10,900 by January 2014.

The changes will help replace the city’s aging sewer plant. The project is estimated to cost $49.6 million in 2014 when accounting for inflation.

— Tonya Strickland