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The increase in contributions is partially due to needed improvements to wastewater digesters. Photo via Facebook/Encina Wastewater Authority
The increase in contributions is partially due to needed improvements to wastewater digesters. Photo via Facebook/Encina Wastewater Authority
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Encinitas to see 4% increase in annual wastewater contributions

ENCINITAS — In a special session before its summer recess, the Encinitas City Council moved into the next wastewater fiscal year expecting to see a 4.6% increase to the city’s annual contributions.

With Mayor Catherine Blakespear and Deputy Mayor Joe Mosca absent, the remaining three council members approved the city’s portion of the proposed Encina Wastewater Authority budgets for the next fiscal year at its June 29 special meeting.

The Encina Wastewater Authority, a wastewater treatment center in Carlsbad, is governed by a joint powers basic agreement with Carlsbad, Vista, Encinitas, Vallecitos Water District, Buena Sanitation District and Leucadia Wastewater District.

The agreement between Encinitas and surrounding cities that utilize the facility requires each to weigh in on the annual budget.

As a member agency, the city’s obligation for 2022-23 is about $1.8 million, an increase of $78,477 from last year, with more than $1 million going toward the capital improvement program.

“This includes increases of about $66,000 to the operations and maintenance expenses due to higher costs for chemicals and delivery,” said Mary Kazungu, the city’s finance manager.

The increase also includes $177,214 in the Encinitas Sanitary Division capital budget for needed improvements to the existing digesters, Kazungu said.

In 2023, the Encina Wastewater Authority will have paid off its $13.5 million in CalPERS pension liability. In 2019, following a $6 million increase in the city’s pension and retiree healthcare debt, the member agencies of the wastewater authority moved to reduce the debt by 2022.

The city must authorize its portion of the Encina Wastewater Authority operating and capital improvement budgets before its July 1 deadline.

The city’s share of the operating and capital budgets is about 4%, which is based on the city’s wastewater flows and percentage of ownership of the Encina treatment plant.

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