Storm drain, sewer cover
Sewer cover. Photo via Pixabay

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors heard from the public Wednesday on a proposed sewer system rate increase for eight unincorporated communities, and ultimately delayed a planned vote in light of opposition.

The ordinance was originally set for approval Wednesday, but was continued until early May after the county received at last 117 letters, an official said.

On May 3, the board will consider a proposed rate increase of 5.75% per year for the next five fiscal years, according to the county Land Use & Environment Group.

If approved, the rate hike will be applied to Alpine, Campo, East Otay Mesa, Julian, Lakeside, Pine Valley, Spring Valley and Winter Gardens.

The county handles sewer needs for 37,000 customers within supervisorial Districts 1, 2 and 4.

According to LUGE, county Sanitation District fees are reviewed every five years “to ensure customers pay their fair share for the services provided and that funding is available to operate and maintain the system.”

During Wednesday’s public hearing, several people questioned whether the proposed rate increase was fair.

Rancho San Diego resident Chris Hazel said he was representing tenants of the Remington condominium complex who don’t feel they should pay the same rate as those living in large homes.

“We only have mostly retired people and low-income families, which means during the half of the day most people are either at school or at work. How much sewage do you think we are using?” asked Hazel, who added that tenants turned in 50 signed protests.

Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer was absent from Wednesday’s meeting, as was Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, who is on medical leave.

Fletcher last week announced his resignation from the board effective May 15 in the wake of sexual assault and harassment allegations made by a former employee of the Metropolitan Transit System. Fletcher has denied the allegations, but admitted to having an affair with the employee.

Updated at 5:15 p.m. April 5, 2023

City News Service contributed to this article.