Saturday, April 21 , 2018, 2:31 pm | Fair 70º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Santa Barbara Council Approves 3 Percent Rise in Water Rates

The council also makes progress on amendments to the Conejo Slide Area Ordinance

The Santa Barbara City Council has agreed to a compromise between the Finance Committee and city staff by raising water rates 3 percent for the next fiscal year.

The council also agreed with the city staff’s recommendation to increase wastewater rates 4 percent and to suspend the Sewer Lateral Incentive Program that has subsidized $2.7 million for repairs to private laterals since 2007. Laterals are the pipes that connect a private building’s sewer system to the public main.

“This year in particular is a tough year for rate increases,” said Councilman Das Williams, chairman of the Finance Committee. “So we should minimize rate increases.”

Water Resources Supervisor Bill Ferguson asked the council for a 3.5 percent increase in water rates because the Zaca Fire increased the amount of particulate in the local watershed, forcing the city to spend about an additional $2 million on water treatment.

“We never adjusted rates to account for that,” City Administrator Jim Armstrong said.

Ferguson also said a 3.5 percent increase was needed for the Water Fund to maintain the reserves required by the council and to pay for unfunded future projects to continue refurbishing more than three miles of pipe every year.

The council also made progress on several amendments to the Conejo Slide Area Ordinance to allow four homes that were destroyed in the Tea Fire to be rebuilt.

The amendments will allow Lynda Dye, an ecologist with the National Park Service, to live in and expand her home, which is a recognized historical landmark even though it is still located in the landslide area.

The amendments will be up for adoption next week.

“I’m pleased that it has come this far,” Dye said. “It’s nice to have the ability to add on to it if I wanted to.”

Grover-Hollingsworth & Associates, a geotechnical consulting firm from Westlake Village, was hired by the homeowners to conduct a survey of their properties’ geology to prove it wasn’t unstable.

Chief building official George Estrella repeatedly expressed concerns about the construction of sheds, walkways and walls within 25 feet of the slide area, saying the load could cause “detriment” to the slide area.

Mayor Helene Schneider thanked city staff members’ for working toward the conclusion of adopting the amendments.

“I just want to underline that so the people’s lives can move forward, and that’s so important,” she said.

Noozhawk intern Daniel Langhorne will be a junior at Chapman University in the fall. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.


Maestro, Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover, Debit

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >