Santa Barbara residents will be paying on average $5 more a month for their combined water, sewage, and trash services, due to a unanimous vote of the City Council on Tuesday. The combined cost for these three utility functions, for the average consumer, will jump from $124.27 a month to $129.49.
Water rates increased to cover $22 million in debt incurred by City Hall to pay for improvements to the city’s well treatment plant, which has been out of commission since 1992, and new federally mandated water purification technology designed to respond to carcinogens—caused by the interaction of sunlight, chlorine, and leaves—that might form in local reservoirs. Waste water rates increased to cover the cost of replacing old sewage mains. And garbage rates jumped to cover a revenue shortfall caused, in part, because city administrators opted to take $450,000 from solid waste operations last year and used it to underwrite the cost of basic city functions.