As a sixth year of drought looms on the horizon, City of Santa Barbara water rates are set to increase yet again, this time by 21 percent. Pending a public hearing and final approval from the council, the change will go into effect July 1. The spike would have been 50 percent if the city didn’t decide to use $5 million in reserves to soften the blow, Mayor Helene Schneider explained this week. Low water users can expect an average $3.77 bump in their bills, moderate users $30.53, and high users $80.01.


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