Tuesday, February 02, 2010
Free the Water District
From the Encinitas Taxpayer Association- For the first time, the Encinitas Taxpayers Association (ETA) is asking San Dieguito Water District (SDWD) customers to protest the SDWD’s proposed water rate increases. The City Council plans on counting anyone who does not respond as voting yes on the increase.
Download a protest form here.
The proposed rate increase for a typical water user will be 14% in March and automatically followed by another 13% increase next January. This results in an 85% increase since 2005. The SDWD has raised rates 4 times and 44% during the previous 4 years.
The SDWD has done well financially. The SDWD has been able to issue a 15% pay raise to SDWD staff over 2008-2012. The SDWD had $1.35 million sitting in its rate stabilization fund last summer, when the SDWD budget was adopted. This is a good time to lean heavily on that fund.
FREEING THE DISTRICT
The ETA is also organizing an initiative to open up the SDWD board to non-councilmembers. The Encinitas City Council now governs the SDWD. The ETA recommends the SDWD’s governing board be opened up to independently elected officials who have no conflicts of interest. This is critical during negotiations between the SDWD and the City. The City and SDWD enter into many financial agreements and the current ratepayer safeguards are inadequate.
We can trust the current council won't b.s. the public again or raid the water district, but you never know who is going to get elected in the future. The ETA has identified a number of vulnerabilities.
The SDWD claims the rate increases are necessary because of the increased costs of imported water and the need for upgrades and retrofitting to the district's infrastructure. The ETA recognizes most of those projects as appearing legitimate. However, the ratepayers could get a better deal.
The ETA is composed of members with diverse perspectives and their reasons for opposing the rate increase are varied. They include:
1. New rate increases should be opposed until the ratepayers have independent representation,
2. Raising rates in the midst of the economic downturn is bad timing,
3. Rate increases for seismic retrofitting should be written so they sunset once the projects are complete,
4. The residential customers of western Encinitas (i.e. SDWD) should no longer subsidize cheap water for the municipal government of Encinitas.
Under Prop 218, if 50%+1 of the SDWD customers disapprove in writing, rate increases will be temporarily blocked. Ratepayers who do not file objections are counted as yes votes for the rate increase.
Ways to Help
1) Sign and mail this protest form,
2) Display a yard sign,
3) Distribute protest postcards on your block,
4) Forward this email.
We will be able to cover the city if people like you share the protest postcards with our neighbors. Request a sign or set of postcards for your neighborhood from firstname.lastname@example.org.