Going Up! O'Side Passes Water Rate Hike

One North County City Council has approved a scaled-back increase on water rates, but delayed a vote on new drought rates after angry residents voiced their opposition.

On Wednesday night, the Oceanside City Council approved 4-1 boosting water rates $1.41 a month for the average Oceanside household using 11,220 gallons per month. The initial recommendation was an extra $2.26 a month. 

City leaders said they were passing on fee increases from the Metropolitan Water District, which provides most of Oceanside's water.  The council also increased sewer bills by $3.32 a month, less than the original $4.78 proposed in January.

City leaders say the extra money is needed to maintain the sewer infrastructure, and pay a higher interest rate on bonds for the wastewater treatment plant.

The decision to postpone the drought water rate plan was made after residents of Ocean Hills Country Club, a 1,632-unit senior community in the city's southeast corner, spoke out against it, the North County Times reported.  The proposed drought rates would have pushed the cost of 748 gallons of irrigation water from $2.09 to $3.78, an 80 percent increase.

Ellen Baur, of the homeowner's association, told the Times the higher fees would mean an extra $16 per month for every household, and many residents are on fixed incomes and would not be able to pay the increase.

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