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City Attorney Mike Aguirre opined over the weekend that San Diego’s water and sewer rates should be increased in order to fund a series of improvements for both systems that are necessary under state and federal laws.
“The City has no choice but to implement the proposed rates to fix our water and wastewater systems,” he states in the 13th interim report his office has released since he took office two years ago. You can read the entire report here.
The report buttresses Mayor Jerry Sanders’ proposal to boost water and sewer rates over the next four years. Under his plan, water rates would be increased by 29 percent by 2011 to raise the money needed to comply with an order by the California Department of Health Services. Additionally, a 35-percent increase to ratepayers’ sewer bills would allow the city to obey a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The council is slated today to begin a constitutionally required 45-day public review period before it can adopt the new fees. An actual vote on the proposal is scheduled for Feb. 26.
Aguirre said conforming to the sanctions is necessary for the city, even though it is just one step toward remedying the city’s infrastructure problems:
The answer to San Diego’s infrastructure problems is clear. To be “America’s Finest City,” the City of San Diego must invest in its infrastructure to provide San Diegans with safe, reliable water and sewer service that will meet state and federal DHS and EPA mandates. This shared goal can only be achieved by approving the proposed adjustments in water and sewer rates that will fully fund the City’s Capital Improvements Program.