San Mateo sewer rates to rise

Residents in San Mateo will be paying higher sewer rates next month, following the city’s decision to increase costs by 9 percent to help offset maintenance and operational expenses.

The increase is the second such hike in the past year, and will raise the average monthly cost of a one-family home from $39.36 to $42.88, according to San Mateo Department of Public Works documents. The increase raises consumption costs from $4.92 per cubic foot to $5.36 per cubic foot. It also hikes the minimum monthly bill from $12.30 to $13.40.

The San Mateo City Council approved the rate increase Monday, with the new rates officially set to go into effect 30 days from the meeting. A similar 9 percent increase was approved one year ago, according to Jean Hill, DPW administrator for San Mateo.

Faced with $445 million worth of planned capital improvements to the sewer system over the next 20 years, the rate increases play an important factor in helping to meet those long-term costs, Hill said.

Preliminary projections indicate that the rate hike will generate an extra $1.7 million for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1. Exact revenue projections won’t be determined until further water usage data is analyzed.

The rate increase proposal was publicly opposed by 18 city residents, Hill said. Most opposition letters said raising the sewer rates while the economy continued to struggle would put an unfair burden on San Mateo residents.

With the new increase, San Mateo’s sewer rates are now in the middle of the pack when compared to nearby municipalities, according to DPW documents. San Mateo is now on par with Redwood City, Foster City and Daly City families, all of which pay roughly $40 to $45 a month for sewer usage.

The average family in Santa Clara pays roughly $16 a month in sewage costs, while Hillsborough and Burlingame Hills families pay about $90.

Even with the increase, San Mateo residents still have one of the cheapest minimum sewage bills on the Peninsula. Only Morgan Hill and Burlingame have lower minimum bills than San Mateo’s $13.40 rate.

The sewer rate for San Mateo residents is based on average water consumption during the months from November to March.

The DPW determines an average rate for those five months and charges that fee for the remainder of the year.

Money in the gutter

San Mateo sewer rates are rising next month.

9% Approved increase to San Mateo city sewer rates
$39.36 Current average monthly sewer bill for San Mateo family
$42.88 Average monthly bill for San Mateo family following rate increase
$445.5 million Capital improvements for sewer system identified over next 20 years

Source: San Mateo Department of Public Works

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