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 eta@encinitastaxpayers.org.

17 comments:

  1. That is insane! I will mail in my form in tomorrow's mail.

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  2. My friend and I were recently talking about technology, and how integrated it has become to our daily lives. Reading this post makes me think back to that discussion we had, and just how inseparable from electronics we have all become.


    I don't mean this in a bad way, of course! Societal concerns aside... I just hope that as memory gets less expensive, the possibility of uploading our brains onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It's a fantasy that I daydream about every once in a while.


    (Posted on Nintendo DS running [url=http://kwstar88.zoomshare.com/2.shtml]R4i SDHC[/url] DS SKu2)

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  3. How can we in the San Dieguito Water District be expected to subsidize the rest of the City of Encinitas? Let's show these councilpeople that we will not stand for their arrogance any longer.

    Send in a protest and close this rate increase down. Let the city use some of the money they stole from the district when they sold the property the city library is on. Use the rent money they are charging the district for space that the district had before the sale.

    SEND YOUR PROTESTS IN. PASS IT TO YOUR NEIGHBORS.

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  4. This rate increase has the support of the city workers and their union.

    Council people are supposed to work for the citizens(taxpayers). Not the unions!!

    Vote NO!!! And do not re-elect any council people!!!

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  5. This rate increase is needed to fund the 40% increase in pension benefits approved in 2005.

    How else will they be able to pay for all those $100,000 pension payments for all the retirees?

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  6. go easy on the staff. many of them know that not all is right at the SDWD.

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  7. What's the deadline for filing a protest note? I had no idea that SDWD customers were supporting the lower water rates for the city.

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  8. deadline is Feb 22.

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  9. What are the reasons they have given for a rate increase? Is it just raises for local staff, or has the cost of water gone up that they are passing along?

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  10. The ETA has the city's notice and the rate study easily accessible on their website.

    http://www.encinitastaxpayers.org/freewater.html

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  11. The rates are suppose to be justified by the cost of providing the water.

    The cost of imported water has gone up so that should be reflected in our bills. The rates also reflect staff salary and benefits and arrangements between the city and the water district. One way to safegaurd the ratepayers against poor arrangements is to have some sort of independent oversight at the SDWD.

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  12. "go easy on the staff. many of them know that not all is right at the SDWD."

    Its not staff's fault, its city councils for approving those criminal pensions.

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  13. Dr. Lorri for City Council 2010February 03, 2010 9:24 PM

    I love this comment from Dr. Lorri. Dr. Lorri for Council in 2010!

    "ment from: Dr. Lorri [Visitor] Email
    I only wish that the managers of Encinitas were as smart as the union reps. of Encinitas. The workers got a great package. The reason has to do with the managers and Council. They could learn from the Union Reps. Let's see. While the rest of us non-governenment workers are getting no raises, and if we are lucky getting to keep our jobs, the City employees got 3.5 percent increase each year for 4 years. Plus, let us not forget they can't get fired! They also get great healthcare, a four day workweek, a pension. Have I missed anything? What's wrong with this picture. I say clean house, beginning with Mr. Cotton and work down. Then, in 2010 and 2012 elect Council members a bit more fiscally intelligent.
    01/20/09 @ 20:48 "

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  14. Still mired in denial
    Latest CalPERS disinformation shows need for vast changes

    TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2010 AT 12:02 A.M.

    It is vitally important that the California Public Employees’ Retirement System be run competently and honestly. Scores of government agencies and 1.6 million public employees and retirees rely on CalPERS to oversee pension programs.

    But the large majority of these programs are badly underfunded directly because of CalPERS’ central role in encouraging the passage of a 1999 law giving state workers a 50 percent retroactive pension spike and clearing the way for similar spikes in local government.

    Yet instead of providing leadership to help the state out of this crisis, CalPERS is much more interested in minimizing its crucial role in creating it. This was on display yet again in a Jan. 30 Sacramento Bee article in which CalPERS spokeswoman Pat Macht asserted that back in 1999, CalPERS officials made it clear the massive retroactive pension giveaway “could cost the taxpayers money.”

    In fact, CalPERS initiated the push for the pension spike, aggressively lobbied for it and suggested it would be painless. The official Senate analysis of the pension bill noted that CalPERS believes it “will be able to mitigate this cost increase [to taxpayers] through continued excess returns of the CalPERS fund.”

    How could CalPERS possibly have pushed the idea there was no downside to a massive retroactive pension spike?

    Either because its analysts held the loony assumption that the late 1990s stock market boom would never end – or because of these analysts’ cynical awareness that once granted, retroactive pension benefits can’t be revoked, including for the CalPERS number-crunchers who claimed to foresee never-ending “excess returns.”

    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is right: It’s time this 1999 law be revoked and the old retirement formulas reinstated – and with the help of CalPERS.

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  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  16. Its clear to me. This request for more money is purely to set up the Water District employees with golden parachutes and raises for the coming years. I will send in my form.

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  17. vote out the problems with our CityFebruary 05, 2010 6:27 AM

    Today the NCTimes has an article about Oceanside's woes... Pensions

    Encinitas and the SDWD has the same level of pensions.

    17% of the budget is huge and would go along way for paying for needed projects around town.

    Its time for the Government Agencies to rejoin the society of saving for ones one retirement without these communistic golden parachutes retirement problems.

    The public employees are supposed to work for the public. Not visa versa.

    Check out the article.

    "By the end of the 2008-09 fiscal year, pension costs accounted for 16.23 percent of the city's general fund spending, up from 10.62 percent in 1999, the association's report said."

    http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/oceanside/article_cccf1f37-0d08-574d-9443-0ea5e425d304.html

    Vote out Dalager, Stocks, Houlihan, and Bond for approving these unsustainable pensions and causing the City to go broke. They are all criminals against the public and should be tarred and feathered and sentenced to sitting on the lap of the Cardiff Kook every weekend for no less than five years.

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