Encinitas will see a 4% increase in annual wastewater contributions

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ENCINITAS — In a special session ahead of its summer recess, the Encinitas City Council entered the next sewage fiscal year expecting to see a 4.6% increase in the city’s annual contributions .

In the absence of Mayor Catherine Blakespear and Deputy Mayor Joe Mosca, the other three council members approved the city’s share of the Encina Wastewater Authority’s proposed budgets for the next fiscal year at its special meeting on June 29.

The Encina Wastewater Authority, a waste water treatment facility in Carlsbad, is governed by a Joint Powers Basis Agreement with Carlsbad, Vista, Encinitas, Vallecitos Water District, Buena Sanitation District and Leucadia Wastewater District.

The agreement between Encinitas and surrounding cities that use the facility requires each to weigh in on the annual budget.

As a member agency, the city’s obligation for 2022-23 is approximately $1.8 million, an increase of $78,477 from last year, with more than $1 million dollars for the capital improvement program.

“This includes increases of approximately $66,000 in operating and maintenance expenses due to higher chemical and delivery costs,” said Mary Kazungu, the city’s chief financial officer.

The increase also includes $177,214 in the Encinitas Sanitation Division’s capital budget for needed upgrades to existing digesters, Kazungu said.

By 2023, the Encina Wastewater Authority will have paid off its $13.5 million in CalPERS retirement liabilities. In 2019, following a $6 million increase in the city’s retiree pension and healthcare debt, sewage authority member agencies decided to reduce the debt by 2022.

The city must authorize its share of the Encina Wastewater Authority’s operating and capital improvement budgets by the July 1 deadline.

The city’s share of operating and capital budgets is approximately 4%, which is based on city wastewater flows and percentage ownership of the Encina Wastewater Treatment Plant.

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