Under a new plan approved Wednesday, Los Angeles residents will watch as their sewer bills increase 75 percent over the next decade, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.
Starting in January, sewer fees will increase 4.5 percent each of the next three years, then 6.5 percent for the six years after that. The plan should generate the $42 billion needed to replace pipes in the Los Angeles sewer system, the Daily News said. Officials say 2,100 miles of pipes are more than 80 years old and need to be replaced.
"What we are doing is the bare minimum," Councilman Richard AlarcÃ³n said. "I say to those of you who will be here when some of us are termed out [in 2013] and to those of you who want to be mayor, you will need to commit to continuing this program."
Although some City Council members were against raising the fee in a down economy, all of them eventually voted for it. "If we don't replace them now, it just costs us more later," Councilman Bill Rosendahl said.
Included in the proposal is a loan program to offer assistance to the 15,000 homes on septic tanks in the city to attach to the municipal sewer system.
"A conversion can cost over $100,000," said Enrique Zaldivar, director of the city Bureau of Sanitation. "What we are doing is offering low-interest loans to allow them to attach to the city sewers. They will repay the money and we will get new customers."