Escondido approves water rate increases over 5 years
Escondido City Council on Wednesday voted 4-1 to increase the water rate over the next five years.
City leaders say it was needed to keep the utility department financially stable.
Why it matters
The rate increases came after the San Diego County Water Authority increased the wholesale rate by 9.5% in June. Escondido buys most of its water from the Water Authority.
Residents say they can't afford the increase.
"As we all are aware, inflation and the cost of living is at a 40-year record high level for gasoline (and) food. Rent and interest rates are also at a historic level," Nicholas Lucia said at the meeting Wednesday. "Many people are working second jobs, and families are struggling to buy the basic necessities. Water is a basic necessity of life. It is not an item people can do without."
Deputy Mayor Joe Garcia said it was the only way to keep the city's debt ratio manageable.
“It hurts us just like it hurts you," he said. "Well, the reality is that we've been dealing with these numbers longer than you have. I would suspect that many of you, if you delve into the numbers like we have for the time that we have, you would probably say, yeah, there's not much room to go anywhere else.”
By the numbers
The water rate will increase by 8% on January 1, 2024. After that, it will increase year-by-year until 2028.
- 7.5 % in 2025
- 7.5% in 2026
- 6.5 % in 2027
- 6.5% in 2028
The wastewater and recycled water rates will also increase.
- 3.5% on Jan. 1, 2024
- 5% on July 1, 2024
- 5% July 2025
- 4% July 2026
- 3% July 2027