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Water and Roads in Grover

Grover Beach officials are exploring funding options to help pay for water system repairs that are bubbling up at more than double earlier estimates.
The city initially budgeted about $250,000 a year for water system repair and upgrades as part of Measure K-14 road construction improvements throughout the city. That was increased to $427,550 this year because of the pace of road construction. But construction on roads and other incidents are revealing a bigger, more expensive problem. So far this year, the bill has come to about $700,000.
“[In the case of] many of the water valves we don’t know if they work until we go to do water shutdowns to do the work for the Measure K (street repair) project,” Public Works Director Greg Ray told the council at a recent City Council meeting.
Councilmember Jeff Lee called the presentation “a very sobering report.”
While increased water rates over the past five months are helping pay to replace part of the aging water system, the need is greater than even those funds provide. Without more money, the city is faced with “either deferring pavement repairs on certain streets or deferring water system improvements and risking failures that would necessitate digging up newly paved streets.”
City Manager Matthew Bronson said road construction will continue at its current pace, but city staff will be bringing funding options to the council in February.
Some of the options being considered include moving forward with an additional 25% increase that was postponed in September. The rate increase would “generate approximately $575,000” in the next fiscal year, according to a city report. The average residential water customer would pay about $10 more a month, or $20 more a billing cycle. City officials said that water and sewer rates, even with this increase, would remain below the countywide average.
Additional options include:
Taking money from the general fund
Taking money from the wastewater fund
Borrowing money from the Clean Water State Revolving Loan fund
Seeking grant funding
Delaying other construction project expenses
“I don’t think this community, and I don’t think anyone who voted for the bonds to fix their streets are going to sit there and say ‘Hey, defer everything until you find enough money to upgrade these water lines,” said Mayor John Shoals. “Let’s make it a priority.”

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