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S.D. Mayor: Water, Sewer Rate Increases Unavoidable

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Aired 4/19/09

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders says without major water and sewer rate increases, the city cannot continue to provide clean water. The mayor will hold workshops around town to convince residents that increasing rates over the next four years is unavoidable.  KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

The mayor promised not to increase taxes, but he couldn’t promise not to increase rates. Sanders says San Diego’s sewer and water systems are in such bad shape that the cost of deferred maintenance rivals the cost of the pension deficit.

Sanders: We’ve neglected our water and wastewater systems for too long and they are quite literally falling apart.

City Attorney Mike Aguirre says without rate increase to do upgrades, the city faces potentially extraordinary fines for failing to meet state and federal standards.

The city has run cameras through its 3,000 miles of wastewater pipes to see where repairs are most needed, and aims to replace 45 miles of pipe a year

The city council, which has to approve rate increases, will consider the matter in February Higher bills could start arriving in city mailboxes next May. Alison St John, KPBS News.

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