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Oceano water rates are set for a hike 

Oceano residents could soon be paying nearly double the rate they currently shell out for sewer and water.

With no rate increase since 1997, the Oceano Community Services District is asking residents to increase their bi-monthly billing rates to make up for financial shortfalls, according to district General Manager Raffaele Montemurro.

The district sent a Proposition 218 mailer to residents informing them that without a majority protest, residents who used to pay $23.94 on their bi-monthly water bill will instead pay $37.74, for example. Bi-monthly sewage rates could also increase from $9.25 to $17.97.

Montemurro said the district has been bleeding money, having to draw $500,000 from its sewer fund and $600,000 from its water fund over the past three years to make up for revenue lacks.

The district also plans to replace aging and potentially inaccurate water meters and is hoping to extend an agreement with Arroyo Grande to sell the city water. Oceano only uses about 900 acre-feet of the 1,953 acre-feet-per-year available to the town.

A majority of the 2,200 property owners who received a letter must formally protest the rate increase or it will likely be passed during a scheduled Feb. 9 public hearing.

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