SLO delays decision on water billing

The San Luis Obispo City Council delayed a discussion about changing the way the city charges for water Tuesday night to a future date because Mayor Jan Marx was absent from the meeting, making it difficult to reach a consensus. The city is proposing that a new water rate structure charge all residents a fixed $5 fee; apply the same rate structure to residential and nonresidential users; and allow more water consumption at a cheaper price.

City staff said the new plan does not raise rates but makes them cost-neutral to the city.

Under the proposed rate-structure change, the average residential water bill would grow to $47.70 from $46.89.

Those users consuming more water would actually see their bills decrease. For example, a nonresidential bill for 50 units of water would drop to $374.26 from $383.15.

That concerned Councilwoman Kathy Smith, who said she was hesitant to support it because of the impact to low-income users.