A lawsuit filed by a former city councilman against Petaluma over wastewater fees has cost the city $33,000 so far, but both sides cite progress in the 10-month dispute. City Manager John Brown declined to discuss the issues in detail because the litigation is still pending. But he acknowledged the city has changed the way it funds storm water maintenance costs as a result of the case being pressed by Bryant Moynihan.
Sebastopol’s water and sewer rates will double over the next four years under a new schedule approved late Tuesday by the City Council. The increases, the first since 2008, are needed to offset the increasing costs of supplying water and sewer services and pay for maintaining and replacing the city’s aging systems. Residents, however, will be hit hard.
Borrowing money to pay for improvements to Sebastopol’s water and sewer system is not cost-effective and would raise the price of the project by $2.2 million, according to a city study. As a result, city administrators say that doubling residents’ water and sewer bills over the next four years is the best way to finance the project.
If you were compelled to water your lawn this winter but worry your Santa Rosa sewer bill will soar because of it, fear not. The city’s Board of Public Utilities signed off on a plan Thursday to change the way sewer rates are calculated to ensure ratepayers aren’t penalized for irrigating during one of the driest winters on record.
Water and sewer bills could more than double for Sebastopol residents over the next four years as part of a proposed rate increase to pay for repairing and replacing the city’s aging systems. The increase, the first since 2008, would be 12 percent a year over the next four years.
A former city councilman and longtime critic of Petaluma government is suing the city over what he claims is the misappropriation of millions of dollars in sewage treatment fees. Bryant Moynihan long has challenged how the city uses the money it collects from water and wastewater ratepayers, claiming it has been used to cover mismanagement of the city budget and to augment overspending in the general fund.
The Petaluma City Council voted 5-2 Monday to raise water and sewer rates while attaching future rate hikes to the pace of inflation. The water bill for a typical Petaluma resident will increase 3.8 percent in the new year, while the sewer bill will rise 2.6 percent. The hikes are the smallest rate increases in Petaluma in years, but some residents were still angry, wanting a break after years of soaring bills, particularly for sewer service.
Rohnert Park residents would see their average sewer bills rise 50 percent by January under a proposal the City Council is close to approving. Critics of the plan say the city must pose the question to voters, who rolled back sewer rates in 2008. City officials, however, say they can raise rates without an election.
City staff are soon expected to propose a 50 percent increase in sewer rates in Rohnert Park. The outlines of a campaign to convince residents to support the rate hike became clear Tuesday. Expect to hear about public health, the impact on the city’s budget and the financial risks of a sewer spill should the aging system not be upgraded.