Friday, November 17, 2006

>>>a number of assumptions I find disturbing<<<

YOUR WATER BILL

by Herb Patterson

The City of Encinitas is planning to move the San Diegito Water District [SDWD] into the new Mossy Public Works Yard. Moreland and Associates prepared the study allocating costs to the various entities [only the SDWD is technically a separate agency – the rest are simply departments of the City]. In the study, Moreland made a number of assumptions I find disturbing.

The first assumption is that the SDWD owed a capital cost donation to this project. Why? The study does not indicate that the SDWD would then own some portion of the property. What equity does the SDWD receive for the expenditure? When the City bought the SDWD property for the new library, it purchased the land and received title for payment – why is that apparently not happening here?

Assuming you believe it is appropriate for the SDWD to donate towards the purchase price of the Mossy property, I would suggest a long look at the methodology used to determine the cost. Moreland estimated that building a similar facility for the SDWD at $300 a square foot and then used the number of SDWD employees [a rounded off 23] as a percentage of the total employees using the yard to arrive at a square foot per SDWD employee of about 364 square feet. That was then multiplied times the $300 figure to arrive at the capital cost. The only problem with this is that about half of the SDWD employees are field workers, not desk bound. A good portion of the SDWD land use would be for parking vehicles and equipment in garages, car ports or parking places. Should the SDWD pay $300 a square foot for a parking place? I don't think so.

Among the other items left off the Moreland report, there is no discussion of the previous locations used by the SDWD. Wouldn't it have been instructive to see a breakdown of the office space and the parking/garage areas? Wouldn't some comment from the SDWD on what their needs were be appropriate? Why is there no discussion of alternative locations and their availability?

I have no problem with the SDWD moving in to the new Public Works area if they pay rent, and pay for whatever alterations necessary for their operation, but having to “up front” the capital expense appears to be a way of transferring the cost to acquire the Mossy location from the City to the SDWD.

This is useful to the City because they can raise your water rates [without a vote] to pay for it. If the City is transferring costs from the City to the SDWD, it is illegal under Prop 218. I have my doubts that the proposed Capital Improvement “donation” from the SDWD meets the Prop 218 definition of Capital Expense and may well be illegal regardless of the intent of the City.

Why does the Moreland report have no alternative scenario for a straight rental of City property to the SDWD? Might that be cheaper for SDWD in the long run ? Nobody knows because the report ASSUMES that the SDWD will buy into the Mossy location.

Since alternatives to the Mossy location were not even looked at, the cost estimate for an SDWD building are imaginary and poorly applied, a review of past locations usage was not done, and the actual needs of the SDWD not even addressed in the Moreland report, I believe it is premature to expect the public to buy into a solution that has the appearance of transferring capital costs from the City to the SDWD. The City Council, sitting both as representatives of the City as a whole and as Directors of the SDWD, have a fiduciary responsibility to both the citizens of Encinitas and the customers of the SDWD. They do not appear to have done that duty in relation to the ratepayers of the SDWD.

Please attend the special Council meeting on 11-29 at 6:00PM in the Council chambers for a discussion of the SDWD water rates – want to guess which way they are going?

26 comments:

  1. This is why we have a grand jury. I hope they have read this column.

    Maybe Teresa Barth will get active in this mess and try and clean it up. Perhaps SDWD needs new directors that aren't our city council.

    ReplyDelete
  2. There is an inherent conflict of interest in having the city council serving as the SDWA board of directors. There is no oversight and the SDWA/ City Council is using their authority to mortgage our future and potentially leaving the ratepayers in hock should there be a default on the bonds.Recall at the last candidate forum that Dalager was aginst an independent board of directors, both Barth and candiate Brown felt an independent board was neccessary. Does anyone know how much outstanding bond debt is out there via SDWA?

    ReplyDelete
  3. We have a person limited to one word responses,could it be Stocks, Bond, Guerin or perhaps a short term renter christian fundamentalist from a red state?

    ReplyDelete
  4. If SDWA had a separate board through all these transactions, I don't believe we would be where we are today. If there were separate boards they would each analyze each transaction to determine if they were in the best interest of their constituants.

    I'm not sure what would have to happen to create separate leadership. I suspect if it were up to our present council, they would decline. Maybe it just has to become a very visible political issue.

    ReplyDelete
  5. or none of the above.

    ReplyDelete
  6. J.P. is lazy today. Where are the wacky photos?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you, JP, for a thoughtful analysis of this "challenge," we are facing.

    I think the one-worder is either a Guerin or a Marvin, doesn't matter. Either way, yeah, we are not content with corruption and people using distraction and name calling to avoid the good intentions and honest inquiry that is going on here.

    It seems an oh-so-obvious conflict of interest, too, when the San Dieguito Water District, SDWD, lost its rental revenue paid by the City to SDWD, and this was not considered as reimbursable. That could not have happened in an eminent domain case. But in this situation, the city and SDWD are really one, are separate in name, only, trying to get around the intent of State law, including our State Constitution.

    The Mossy deal was a bad deal for taxpayers and ratepayers. There should have been more than one appraisal consultant. There should have been more open sessions.

    And that $300+ per sq. ft. for FTE (full time employee) is ridiculous, too. And why would SDWD not be on title, as it was before! That is unfair, and amounts to a hostile takeover and lack of good faith by the City. SDWD needs an independent manager, at the very least. Yes, this will come up at the Council Meeting. Too bad Bossy Guerin will still be there, then.

    ReplyDelete
  8. To get an independent board for SDWD we will need to use the initiative process. The city council is there for their perceived power and perks. They are not about to let go of it withoutout a fight.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The ratepayers in the SDWD can stop the rate increase by sending or taking to city clerk's office a letter of protest of the increase in rates. Include the address and the parcel number where there is service. If the number of protest letters is a majority of the district's ratepayers, the council can't increase the rates. The protest letter must be received before the Nov. 29 council meeting.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks for that info about the protest letter. I wish that could get in the newspaper, ASAP, so that people who don't read this blog could know!

    There's a whole lot of fishy business that's been going on at City Hall.

    If we rally together, we can help clear this mess up.

    ReplyDelete
  11. One word poster, you are either on Council or you are RSB, aka Charlie Marvin. Of course you make fun of people, with no substance to your remarks, trying to be a threadkiller, anything to distract from the mess ups, corruption at City Hall where separate govt. entities are combined into one so that the General Fund can support all the vanity projects of Christy Guerin & buddies. Glad she is soon to be gone. The sooner the better.

    A pinhead is someone who can't think of anything to say but one word insults with no explanation. The pinheads, in our opinion are Kerry Miller, Christy Guerin, and everyone else behind the shady transfer of monies from SDWD to the General Fund thru Council's closed session "arrangements," back room deals where the ratepayers and taxpayers are left footing the bill.

    ReplyDelete
  12. i'm still chapped that my sewer rates have gone up to 500$ bucks on my property tax bill.
    When I bought my house I was told my property tax would only go up a certain % every year, but my bill is quite a bit larger because of the sewer fee going through the roof. I have invited all my friends and neighbors over to take dumps at my house and I'm starting to take EX LAX so I can get my money's worth. The smell is getting to me but I feel I'm getting my money's worth

    ReplyDelete
  13. I am NOT Pinhead, nor Whiner, nor Malcontent. I don't post one word posts. I post thoughtful, insightful, diatribes to make you stop and see your community as it is, not as you believe it to be. Leucadia can be so much more than what it is now, w/o losing the funkiness( how I hate that word) that brought you here to start with. (More than likely you came because this was the cheapest place to live so close to the beach, it certainly wasn't for the infrastructure!).

    Support the needed changes for Leucadia and watch this community become what it needs to be....the showpiece of Encinitas!!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Can someone amplify on the rate increases and the protest letters.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I gotta hand it to RSB, he has the public intrigued on his real idenity. He's kind of like Spider Man.

    If Spider Man's powers were limited to boozing it up and yelling at people.

    ReplyDelete
  16. It's easy to be a drunk. It's harder to be sober.

    ReplyDelete
  17. bull,
    being a drunk is hard.
    It takes strength, stamina, and determination.
    anyone can be sober, how hard is that.
    Try drinking all night and waking up and refereeing your kids t ball game the next morning, that is true grit.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Bukowski, Charles Bukowski? I thought you were dead. I've read all your stuff man! Now you were a serious drunk. Love to have partied with you.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I liked the "Post Office" by Charles Bukowski. He was a hard drinker, but he had no children.

    Just because RSB doesn't like the word funky, doesn't mean we have to stop using it. It's a musical term, too, ya know.

    Anyway, RSB, when you came here "35 years ago" this was probably one of the cheapest places for you to buy too.

    Your comments are avoiding the posts about the conflict of interest between the City and the San Dieguito Water District. There's an issue here of closed door deals that are not in the best interests of the ratepayers. I'm glad JP has addressed this.

    I am writing a letter of protest about the rate increase, and I hope all property owners do, as well.

    ReplyDelete
  20. The one word poster is undoubtedly someone on Council, or a relative, such as Bossypants Guerin. She'd like this issue to go away.

    Wish she would, ASAP.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I really think that anonymous posters should stop speculating who other anonymous posters are. It's kind of silly.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for posting on our blog.
Anonymous comments are allowed after moderator review.
The moderator works at his leisure.