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Cardiff, Olivenhain residents could see sewer rate increases

ENCINITAS — Residents in Cardiff and Olivenhain could see an uptick in their sewer fees starting in July, as the City Council on Wednesday will weigh whether to start the process of raising rates in those communities.

A study of sewer fee rates in the city’s two sanitary divisions and a companion “sewer asset management plan,” both done by the contract firm Atkins, found that rates in the Cardiff Sanitary Division — the largest of the two districts — needed to be raised to fund several major projects the report says are necessary to maintain the level of service in those areas.

The recommended increase would call for alternating rate increases of 4 percent and 3 percent between July 1 and the 2018-19 fiscal year. Currently, the average property owner pays $52 a month for sewer service in the Cardiff Sanitation Division, which encompasses 84 miles of sewer pipeline.

According to the management plan, the rate increases would fund the replacement of 17,308 feet of existing sewer pipe, rehabilitation of another 188,000 feet, rehabilitation of 114 manholes, and replacement of a pump station and three sewers.

The City Council on Wednesday will vote not on the increase itself, but whether to hold a public hearing at which time the rate increase will be formally proposed. The city is required by state law to give property owners written notice at least 45 days before the hearing is held.

The last time the city comprehensively reviewed its rates was in 2003, when the council adopted the current rate structure, which runs through June 30.