At CAA’s urging, San Carlos to study new sewer-rate model for apartments


After raising residential sewer rates last week, the city of San Carlos plans to re-evaluate how sewer bills are calculated for apartments.

The City Council agreed to consider a new pricing model for multifamily housing after CAA Tri-County voiced objections over the current pricing structure, especially in light of rising rates.

The rate is set to climb 67 percent over the next three years. The rate structure, however, does not account for the size of a residential dwelling or the impact on the sewer system.

So, bills for single-family homes that house four people will continue to mirror those for studio apartments that house just one.  This pricing methodology has always been flawed, but with bills set to increase by 67 percent, the problem is more glaring.

With that in mind, more than 80 rental property owners — led by CAA Tri-County — either wrote to the council or attended a public hearing May 28.

CAA Tri-County and property owners urged the council to adopt a usage-based formula, or at least study a pricing model that would be fair and equitable and proportionately spread the burden of the sewer-fee hike to all types of properties.

Although the council voted 4-1 to raise the sewer fee because of critical improvements needed for the sewer’s infrastructure and to follow a court-mandated legal settlement, it agreed with CAA Tri-County to explore alternative models.

The study could end as early as spring 2014, with changes to the rate structure in effect beginning next fiscal year.

This marks the first time the city will consider revising its sewer rate formula. CAA Tri-County will work closely with the city during the review process to ensure rental housing industry concerns are properly addressed.

Tagged: Tri-County