By JOSH FRIEDMAN
The city of Grover Beach last month adopted changes to its water rate structure, which is expected to result in a temporary decrease in bimonthly bills for most residents.
Following a city council vote on May 10, Grover Beach changed from a fixed to a tiered water rate system. Additionally, the council approved a series of rate hikes.
An initial 2 percent water rate hike will take effect on July 1, also the date the new system takes effect. Then, subsequent rate hikes of 2 percent, 3 percent, 4 percent and 4 percent will follow over each of the next four years.
City officials say, because of the structural change, the bimonthly bills for single-family homes that use a typical amount of water will decrease from $112.88 to $84.07, effective July 1. That is a decrease of about $14.50 a month or $29 per billing cycle.
The city expects 70 percent of residential customers will see a decrease in their utilities bills. However, residents and businesses that use the most water will face an increase in their bimonthly bills.
While approving the new water rates, the Grover Beach City Council also raised sewer rates. Starting next month, sewer rates will increase 2 percent every July 1 through 2025-2026.
The typical sewer bill will increase from $24.16 to $24.64 per billing cycle, as of next month.
As a result of the rate changes, the city expects its water fund to take in an additional $101,000 in revenue in 2021-2022 and an additional $103,000 in 2022-2023. The sewer fund will receive approximately $19,000 in additional revenue in 2021-2022 and $20,000 in 2022-2023.
The increased revenue is needed in part to help fund Central Coast Blue, the regional recycled water project in which Grover Beach is partnering with Pismo Beach.