It may not be as showy as a Roman candle, but we’re offering a burst of red, white and blue bouquets for all who do their part to make it a safe Fourth of July.
We know you’ve heard it before, but here’s a reminder: State-approved, safe and sane fireworks are allowed only in the San Miguel, Templeton and Oceano community services districts and the cities of Morro Bay (on private property only), Arroyo Grande and Grover Beach.
Violate that rule, and you could face a hefty, $2,000 fine and a shower of brickbats.
And if you do live in a community that allows fireworks and you decide to use them, please be particularly careful this year. If any brush fires are sparked by fireworks, we suspect next year there will be many demands for a blanket prohibition on the sale and use of fireworks throughout the county, and we’ll join our voice to that choir.
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SLO councilmembers doing their part
SLO City Council members deserve drought-tolerant bouquets for their water-saving landscaping. Three members of the council — Mayor Jan Marx and Councilmen John Ashbaugh and Dan Carpenter — all have drought-tolerant gardens instead of traditional grass lawns.
Carlyn Christianson is a shareholder in a multi-unit housing complex; there’s lawn there, but it’s definitely looking under-watered, and the complex’s board of directors has considered letting it go brown, Christianson said.
Councilman Dan Rivoire was the only one of the five council members living in a house with an emerald green, well-manicured lawn when visited by The Tribune. But don’t blame the councilman. Rivoire said the lease on that property (he’s since moved to a different rental) required that landscaping be maintained to a certain standard. It also required tenants to pay the water bill.
We suspect Rivoire isn’t the only tenant who’s been put in that situation. Some landlords don’t realize brown lawns (or even better, no lawns) are badges of honor in California. For them, we’re cultivating a garden of overgrown brickbats.
Morro Bay’s financial foresight fails
Morro Bay residents have been paying the same water rates for 20 years — yes, you read that correctly and no, it’s not a typo — and suddenly, city officials learn the rates aren’t generating enough revenue to keep up with expenses.
A few gory details: Without rate increases, the water enterprise fund was projected to be $900,000 in the hole; the city wouldn’t be able to cover maintenance and upgrades, which are expected to run $9 million over the next 10 years; and the Central Coast Water Authority issued the city a warning letter, informing it that it wasn’t collecting enough in water rates to cover its share of State Water Project debt.
So, after two decades, the city is making up for lost time. It will raise water rates every year; by 2019, they’ll be more than double the current rates. An average family using 150 gallons per day will go from paying $33.20 per month to $75.50. Ouch!
We are all in favor of keeping rates as low as possible for as long as possible, but the city might not be in such hot water today if it had kept rates a bit more current. For lack of financial foresight, Morro Bay gets a leaky bucket of underfunded brickbats.