Are We Flushing $10M of Pacifica's Sewage Fees Down the Drain?

Why Isn’t the City Listening to Our Seawall Concerns?

More than 130 people, mostly Pacificans, signed a petition asking why the City has placed a $10 million sea wall installation into a sewer rate increase. These citizens wanted staff to consider pulling the $10 million of sewer fees for the Beach Blvd. Infrastructure Resiliency Project (BBIRP) since there has been little information disclosed about the specifics. Additionally, the BIRP sea wall project final design hasn’t been approved by the Coastal Commission. Despite these concerns, on May 9, 2022, the City Council unanimously approved the 3.5 percent each year over the next five yeas.

City Manager Kevin Woodhouse has dismissed citizens' concerns as coming from a "small group who is spreading mis-information." Some believe that City Council members have failed to listen to their constituents’ concerns when they council approved the sewer rate increase with a 5-0 vote.

Aren’t the Council members supposed to represent us, the people who live here and listen to our concerns? Then why has Woodhouse dismissed citizens’ comments and concerns? A questions has also been raised about whether direct fees to a project that doesn’t yet exist is even allowable under Prop 218. Prop. 218 radically changes the way in which local governments raise revenues by ensuring taxpayer approval of charges and increases to existing charges. Voters are also given the ability to repeal or reduce charges by voter initiative. (

Additionally, if the money spent on repairing and upgrading any sewage infrastructure banks on a future sea wall and if that was the purpose, Council needs to clearly state that to the public in the name of transparency.

Pacifican questions putting a sea wall
in his sewer…

OWN VOICE. ~ InPerspective by Sam Casillas, edited by Gregg Dieguez —

From the Coastside

Did you know you’re paying for a seawall tax in your Pacifica sewer rate increase? [Ed Note: Claims in this article have been disputed by the City of Pacifica. Their response is posted in this article.]

In Fall of 2020, the City of Pacifica started the Beach Blvd Infrastructure Resiliency (BBIR) Project which includes the seawall. Outreach was done to the community within 300 feet of Beach Blvd. 20 people, including Sharp Park community members and City Council decided the direction of the resiliency plan for half a mile of shoreline without accounting for how it would be paid and based solely on opinion. The consultant that presented to City Council on 6/9/2021 explicitly said they were given only the most favored public opinion options to consider and were not allowed to consider infrastructure relocation as an option. The city has the option to move its infrastructure , but has chosen to ignore climate science.

Every household in Pacifica received a notice proposing a “3.5%/year sewer rate increase over the next 5-year period”. What the notice didn’t mention is that this rate increase includes a $40 Million TAX on all Pacificans for the seawall we don’t get to vote on. More alarming is that the $40 Million Tax is only a small down payment on the future costs of this albatross that will eventually bankrupt the city and lay the tax burden on its citizens.

There are several issues at hand– the actual performance of the system, climate adaptation of 0.5 miles of the system, the viability of the solution and most importantly, how our city council is going to fund the whole project. To continue

Cindy Abbott: I'm signing to request that the $10MM for the Beach Blvd Infrastructure Resiliency Project be removed from this sewer rate increase. The overall work to maintain our infrastructure is necessary and I support that (85%+) part of the increase devoted to overall upgrades/maintenance. The seawall though doesn't belong buried in this overall program; we need to focus on MOVING infrastructure out of harms way so that this issue isn't left to future generations of Pacificans.

James Kremer: Many of us appreciate that upgrades and repairs are to our City's wastewater infrastructure are planned. A rate increase is needed. But one item in the proposal stands out to me as a problem – $10M is a small part of the total, but it adds to the loan burden. I don't think it is justified, and I wrote my sheet of facts & Questions to clarify my worries.

Dawn Zidonis: I support the work for upgrades to the sewer system (and I support upgrades to protect our coastline) but I want to better understand why the seawall is intertwined with the sewer system rate increase and as a resident make sure we're investing in long term solutions to combat the climate crisis in regards to our coastline.