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Santa Monica Hikes Sewer Fees, Cites Increased Costs

November 26, 1987|RAYMOND SANCHEZ | Times Staff Writer

The Santa Monica City Council, in response to cost increases for use of the Hyperion sewage-treatment facility, voted unanimously Tuesday to raise fees for sewer use and connection and surcharges for industrial waste, beginning Tuesday.

The council also called for developers of projects of more 80,000 square feet to build on-site sewage treatment facilities.

Sewer-use fees were increased to 59 cents from 39 cents, effective Tuesday and up to 88 cents on Jan. 1, 1989.

Increases in fees for sewer connections were more than tripled in some cases. Fees for single-family homes were increased to $1,312.50 from $437.50. Commercial fees were raised to $1,125 per 1,000 square feet from $375 per 1,000 square feet.

According to Stanley E. Scholl, city director of general services, Santa Monica's share of operating and maintenance for use of the Hyperion treatment plant have increased because of improvements required by the federal Clean Water Act. He said the those costs have risen from $350,000 in fiscal year 1984-85 to $1,640,000 projected for fiscal year 1988-89.

A city staff report attributed the increases to the "fast rising costs related to reducing pollution of Santa Monica Bay. . . . The only option available to the city at this time is to use city general funds to pay for the increasing cost."

Councilwoman Christine E. Reed said the council had no choice but to approve the fee increases. She said dipping into city funds to pay Hyperion costs went against city policy.

"As a region, we have let our sewer system go to hell," Reed added. "Now, we have to fix it."

Industrial waste surcharges included increased fees for auto and motorcycle repair shops to $48.60 from $32.40 in December, then to $72.90 in 1989; bakeries and candy manufactures to $126 from $84 in December, then to $189 in 1989; and service stations to $67.50 from $45 in December, then to $101.25 in 1989.

The sewer-use fee hike is expected to generate $550,000 this year. The new sewer-connection fees are expected to generate an additional $442,983.

Monthly sewer-use fees for single-family homes will rise to $4.10 from $2.73; six-unit apartments to $36.86 from $24.57; commercial establishments to $35.10 from $23.40; and restaurants to $204.75 from $136.50.

Scholl said the new fees compare favorably with the fees of neighboring cities such as Los Angeles and Beverly Hills.

Sewer-use fees for a single family home in Los Angeles, for example, are $4.65 and in Beverly Hills $4.24. The new $1,312.50 sewer-connection fee for a single family home in Santa Monica is higher than in Los Angeles, where it is $1,185 fee.

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