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Sewer rates to tick upward in Cardiff, Olivenhain

ENCINITAS — Sewer rates will increase for property owners in Cardiff and Olivenhain starting in July, as the City Council recently voted in favor of a series of annual increases over the next four years.

The City Council unanimously voted on April 22 to approve alternating rate increases of 4 percent and 3 percent between July 1 and the 2018-19 fiscal year for property owners in the Cardiff Sanitary Division — the largest of the city’s two sanitary divisions, which encompasses the communities of Cardiff-by-the-Sea and Olivenhain.

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 Cardiff Sanitary Division’s rates needed to be increased to fund several major projects the report says are necessary to maintain the level of service in those areas.

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.

Before approving the rate increase, the City Council held a public hearing — as mandated by state law — and no speakers spoke for or against the increases. Seven property owners did submit written protests.

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.