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Fee increase could sink water, wastewater budgets

A possible ballot initiative to block future fee increases for San Diego city residents threatens to sink the water and wastewater departments' budget. A critic of city finances made the threat at today's city council budget hearings. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

The city of San Diego's water and sewer departments are both violating state and federal regulations and need millions of dollars for upgrades.

The city cannot borrow money on the bond market, and private financing depends on rate increases. But Carl Demaio of the watchdog group The Performance Institute says if the council votes for a rate increase he'll start collecting signatures for a ballot measure this November

Demaio: "I stand here today to give you notice taxpayers are turning off the money spigot."

Demaio cites a grand jury report showing inappropriate use of water and sewer funds. Water officials say since the city couldn't borrow money, some dollars earmarked for bond repayments were used instead on urgent capitol project upgrades.

The mayor's water and sewer audit will announce findings within six weeks . Alison St John, KPBS News.

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