Councilmembers and mayor take oaths of office for new terms

PASO ROBLES — Following the certification of the General Election results, two council members and the mayor took their oaths of office to begin their new terms. 

Mayor Steve Martin won his race for re-election against candidate Michael Rivera. Councilman John Hamon will serve again, representing District 1, and Chris Bausch will represent District 2. 

Following a public hearing held for the sale of a portion of Pioneer Park to the 16th District Agricultural Association (commonly known as the Fair Board), the council approved to move forward again with the long-awaited sale of the approximately 7 acres.


The sale’s agreement includes the following requirements:

  • Sales price: $800,000
  • Use Restriction requiring the property to be used to further the 16th DAA’s mission.
  • A right for the city to reacquire the property if the 16th DAA attempts to convey the property or fails to use it consistent with the Use Restriction
  • City retaining control of the site for three years following the close of escrow so the ballfields will remain available to the community.
  • Release of liability for the city for conditions discovered following the close of escrow.

Finalization of the sale is expected to conclude in early 2023.

Later in the meeting, council held a public hearing on the much-anticipated water rates. Several members of the public spoke on their disagreement with the proposed water rate increase. Some concerns from the public regarded a lack of public notice on the option to protest the increase.

Of the 10,403 parcels affected by the proposed water rate adjustments, protests were filed for 157 parcels. Since the written protests did not exceed the majority of parcels affected, council was allowed to move forward with the approval.

The new rates will increase water rate revenues by 5 percent per year for the next five years. According to staff documents, the proposed rates include “modifications to the water rate structure designed to better align rates with the cost of providing service.”

You can find staff’s report on the water rate increases and the public hearings notice document here

In the end, the water rate increase public hearing was concluded and council unanimously approved to establish the new water rates, which will be in effect April 1, 2023.

Council then discussed the ongoing topic of parking in Downtown Paso Robles. The current program offers two free hours of parking per day, and charges for $1 per hour thereafter. Acccording to staff’s report, “since May 2021, the paid parking revenues average $11,800 per month; during the same time period, ongoing expenses were just under $30,000 per month.”

Staff suggests that the current parking program structure will “not achieve cost neutrality.” To remedy this, staff has suggested changes, including a possible parking structure and increasing the parking rate to $2 per hour. 

Several complaints were heard regarding the current parking system and kiosks downtown. Some complaints suggested the system was flawed and hurt downtown businesses. 

Council motioned to have staff bring back a parking program or permit for locals. However, Bausch felt it was too soon to vote on the recommendation and that there were too many unanswered questions. 

With a 3-2 vote, council approved to move forward with staff’s recommendations, Bausch and Martin voting no. Staff will come back with a local program suggestion to council by the end of February 2023.

The full parking program report can be found here

The next city council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, at 6:30 p.m.