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Wastewater Sewage Rates Will Rise for San Clemente Residents

Wastewater Sewage Rates Will Rise for San Clemente Residents

A beach view in San Clemente, Calif., on Oct. 20, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Julianne Foster

Julianne Foster

7/21/2023

Updated: 7/21/2023

San Clemente residents can expect wastewater sewage rates to rise by 30 percent over the next five years after the San Clemente City Council voted 4–1 July 18 in favor of the rate hikes, with Mayor Pro Tem Steve Knoblock abstaining.
Such rates will increase by 9.5 percent as soon as October.
Going forward, rates will rise by 6 percent in 2024, 5 percent in both 2025 and 2026, and 4.5 percent in 2027.
The council made its decision after the city performed a rate study. Rates in the city, according to officials, haven’t been raised in six years.
The study found that costs to operate the wastewater system would rise over the next three years, and the city would need additional funds to operate it sufficiently.
“In the last few years, we have eaten through our reserves. If we don’t implement the rates, we’ll continue to draw down our reserves,” Utilities Director Dave Rebensdorf said during the meeting. “At some point, we will no longer have funding to replace infrastructure and repair our system.”
According to the study, among the approximate 17,000 customers of the system, a majority of customers are single-family homes currently paying $23.82 a month.
City staff found that, in comparison to neighboring cities, San Clemente currently has the fourth cheapest rates for single-family homes, and its are just $5 more expensive a month than the cheapest city, Irvine.
The wastewater system is a nonprofit business controlled and operated by the city but funded by customer rate revenue, unlike the city’s other utilities and agencies which use the city’s general fund, such as police and fire departments.
Knoblock said he opposed the rate hikes because he was concerned the city was raising rates in coordination with other cities’ rate increases.
“The concept that we have to match our neighbors, I absolutely reject,” Knoblock said during the meeting. “I’m concerned that raising the rates for our citizens for five years in advance on the guess that this is an appropriate number.”
The council additionally discussed, without a vote, conducting a yearly analysis of the rates to determine if the city’s current projected percentage raises are accurate.
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Julianne Foster

Julianne Foster

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California Insider
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