Council to purchase wastewater treatment plant, savings projected

February 03, 2015
Santa Paula News

Santa Paulans will no longer be paying the second highest sewer rates in the state after a deal to purchase the wastewater treatment plant for $70.8 million is finalized.

The City Council unanimously backed the purchase at their Monday meeting, a move that will save residents hundreds of dollars a year and, depending on the interest rate of municipal bonds used for the purchase could mean a savings as high as $450 annually on residential sewer bills.

Terry Mass of FirstSouthwest, who is handling the bond transaction, told the council at the February 2 meeting that the last time he appeared before the panel was in 2007.

“Here we are again,” said Mass who said the current bond rate is “again a great opportunity,” for financing that was not taken in 2007.

Now, Mass added, Santa Paula customers, “Pay the second highest rate in the state of California… ”

At that time the 2007 bond rate was about 4.4 percent but the then-council majority opted to go with private financing for the approximately $60-million wastewater treatment plant.
On a 3-2 vote the council majority agreed to let a partnership formed by PERC Water and Alinda Capital Partners to design, build, operate and finance the facility even though the contract carried an 8.21 percent variable interest rate that had to be borne by ratepayers.

Mayor John Procter was on the council at that time and was one of two council members who voted against the deal; thereafter, in 2008 he declined to run for a third term. With the defeat of Ralph Fernandez and Bob Gonzales last year and the election of Procter, he now is the only councilmember that was on the panel at the time the wastewater treatment plant was contracted.

The facility opened in 2010 and residential customers pay a base $77.23 monthly charge; there is also a sewer processing surcharge of $1.12 per 100 cubic feet.

The story will be updated in the Friday edition of the Santa Paula Times.

Site Search



Call 805 525 1890 to receive the entire paper early. $50.00 for one year.