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Quality of Life

San Diego County Supervisors OK sewer rate increase

The San Diego County Administration building on Pacific Highway on Feb. 5, 2021.
Erik Anderson
The San Diego County Administration building on Pacific Highway on Feb. 5, 2021.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 in favor of a sewer-system rate increase for eight unincorporated communities.

Passed as part of the board's consent agenda Wednesday, the 5.75% rate hike will be applied in Alpine, Campo, East Otay Mesa, Julian, Lakeside, Pine Valley, Spring Valley and Winter Gardens.

The increase will take effect July 1, according to the county Land Use & Environment Group.


On Feb. 8, the county's Sanitation District board of directors scheduled a public hearing on the proposed fee increase during the county supervisors' meeting on April 5. During that April meeting, several residents appeared before the board to questions whether the proposed increase was fair. The county also received 117 letters regarding the proposed rate hike.

The board delayed the vote on the rate hike until May because such increases require the approval of four supervisors, and only three were in attendance at the April 5 meeting — Joel Anderson, Jim Desmond and board Chairwoman Nora Vargas, according to the LUEG. Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer was absent from that meeting, as was Nathan Fletcher, who is on medical leave.

The rate increase will be applied on a yearly basis over the next five fiscal years. The county handles sewer needs within supervisorial Districts 1, 2 and 4. Supervisors last approved a rate increase, also for a five-year period, in April 2017.

Officials said county Sanitation District fees are reviewed every five years "to ensure customers pay their fair share for the services provided and that funding is available to operate and maintain the system."

Rancho San Diego resident Chris Hazel — who voiced concerns during the earlier public hearing — said via email on that he was unable to attend Wednesday's meeting, but would have asked supervisors to consider how the rate increase will impact retired people living on fixed incomes.

Corrected: May 4, 2023 at 3:45 PM PDT
Editor's note: A story that ran on the CNS wire Wednesday stated that a county Board of Supervisors vote on sewer rate increases was delayed from April due to public opposition. According to the county, the delay was actually caused because only three members of the board were present during the April meeting, and four votes are required to approve a fee increase.