Council Looks to update Smoking Ordinance, curb teen vaping

In response to a request from the Atascadero Police Department, the City Council took steps to repeal and replace portions of the tobacco use ordinances Title 6 and 10. As stated by City Staff, the purpose of the new rules is to better define designated non-smoking areas and add the prohibition of minors, children under the age of 18, from being in possession of tobacco products. The regulations also aim to curb or end the use of vaping products by teenagers. 

The new areas proposed and redefined are on Atascadero Avenue, from Morro Road to El Camino Real and in the streets and along the public right of way from Ardilla Avenue to Potrero Road and any public place within 500 feet of Colony Park Community Center. If passed, the ordinance would prohibit smoking and vaping on the median between North County Christian School and Echo Shelter. The first reading passed unanimously.

Wastewater Rate Increase 

The Atascadero City Council approved Proposition 218 to increase wastewater rates from from $20.18 to $24.01, a 19 percent increase. The last rate adjustment occurred in 1994. With the rate increase, the City looks to bring in $350,000 for the fiscal year 2019/20.

Mayor Heather Moreno expressed the Council’s desire to make it abundantly clear that this rate increase is first part of additional increases that span a five-year plan. The mayor stated that reason reason for the gradual rate hike was in the hope of furthering research would reduce future increases. 

Needing more than 2,000 written protests to defeat the proposition, the Council received only one but also received one verbal positing feedback during the Council meeting.

“It’s difficult times for elected officials to take these kinds of steps,” said Curtis Black, a private citizen addressing the Council. “…I think the amounts are quite reasonable and the need is there.” 

The rate increase was based on a 2019 Wastewater Rate Study. The City is also performing a full audit and inventory wastewater connection user classifications. Once completed, the City will examine several factors such as volume metric analysis and water use patterns to assist in its wastewater rates evaluation. Currently, Atascadero charges the lowest rates in the County. 

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