Paso Robles water rate hike lawful, state court rules

The city of Paso Robles’ latest water rate increase remains lawful, an appellate court ruled Tuesday.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal’s decision denies Paso Robles resident John Borst’s argument that the city's current water rateincreases, which helps fund the city’s share in the Nacimiento Water Project, should have been considered a special tax requiringvoter approval instead of going forward as a fee.

The rate hikes have been appearing on Paso Robles users' water bills since January.

The appellate court’s ruling Tuesday upholds San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Jac Crawford’s earlier decision to dismiss Borst’s case on the grounds it was essentially the same case Borst lost about a year before.

Borst sought an appeal because he said the new case presented different arguments.

Crawford has been waiting on the appellate court’s decision before issuing his ruling on another Borst lawsuit challenging PasoRobles' water and sewer rate increases in 2002 and 2004. Borst originally filed that suit in 2009 and it’s been stalled pending theoutcome of related court cases, including the appeal.

Crawford’s ruling on whether the 2002 and 2004 increases are lawful is expected shortly, City Attorney Iris Yang said. She wasn't sure when it would come, however.