Guest commentary by Herb Patterson
YOUR WATER BILL PART TWO
In the last installment of the discussion of the San Diego Water Districts [SDWD] move into the City of Encinitas new Mossy yard, I criticized the methodology and the lack of alternatives presented by the consultants report. I thought the exorbitant price paid by the SDWD and their lack of ownership of the new property seemed like an attempt by the City to pass expenses of a major land purchase on to an entity that could raise their fees without a vote of the people – a violation of Prop. 218.
It actually is worse than that. The Mossy property is 4.4 acres according to the consultant's report. An acre is 43,560 square feet, so the Mossy property is about 191,664 square feet. That makes the cost to the City [figuring in the $100,000 purchased improvements in the figure] at $50 and a tiny fraction per square foot! Can the City “charge” the SDWD FIVE OR SIX TIMES it's cost per square foot to use the Mossy property? It will take a very talented lawyer to explain to me how this does not grossly violate Prop 218.
Another way of looking at the deal is to take the consultants figures of 23 employees [rounded] of the SDWD and multiple times the number of consultant-figured necessary square footage per employee[364 square feet] times $50 a square foot [the City's cost]. This total is about $418,600 – add an additional $100,000 for necessary improvements directly attributed to SDWD and you get a figure of $518,600 as an appropriate “donation” for the SDWD. Of course, the SDWD still has no ownership.
The consultant recommended SDWD “contribution” to the Mossy purchase is $3,378,700. Lets say the cost of improvements to the Mossy property necessary for the SDWD exceed the $100,000 figured previously and the actual cost are multiples of that. Let's say the improvement costs exceed the City's actual costs of the land [$418,000] and the total plus improvements comes to $1,000,000. This is still a far cry from $3,378,700 and the SDWD still has no ownership.
The City has once again spent tax payer dollars for a consultant to “find” exactly what the City wanted, giving them a screen of respectability to hide behind. Why use hypothetical costs when real costs were available? Why not comment on the previous locations of the SDWD? What difference does it make to this transaction what the City paid for the old SDWD site? Why not comment on what SDWD said it needed?
Questions that come to mind:
Has the City council a fiduciary duty to both the citizens of Encinitas and the ratepayers of the SDWD?
If they do, how can the City make a profit on the use of the Mossy yard by the SDWD?
Does not any transaction between the two entities have to be at “arms length” and as fair as possible ?
Who will sue the City for grossly violating Prop. 218?
Are there criminal penalties for attempting to defraud the ratepayers of SDWD?
My bet is we are going to find out.
Read Part One: Leucadia!: >>>a number of assumptions I find disturbing<<<
Leucadia!: No one would ever sell their personal property the way the city did
Leucadia!: More Dirty Tricks, a must read
Leucadia!: Water rates increase
Understanding Prop 218