email forwarded to the LB:
I am writing to urge you to protest the planned water rate increase for San Dieguito Water District (SDWD). You can do that by filling out the attached protest form and mailing it to the Encinitas Taxpayers Association so that it gets there by February 24.
The problem with the rate increase, as I see it, is twofold. First, the City is shifting some of its expenses to the SDWD, which results in higher rates. Second, the SDWD gives developers, businesses and the City a discount on rates. This results in higher rates to homeowners.
To prove my point, compare the proposed SDWD rates with the rates charged by the Olivenhain Municipal Water District's (OMWD). (The proposed SDWD and existing OMWD rates are in the attachments.) The SDWD serves Western Encinitas. The OMWD serves Eastern Encinitas. [OMWD uses more imported water than SDWD, and imported water is more expensive.] But, the proposed SDWD rate for homeowners is more than 50% higher than the OMWD rate. The differential is even greater in a drought, like the one we are in now.
Notably, unlike the SDWD, the OMWD charges higher rates for construction, and does not give a lower rate to the City or businesses.
I cannot think of a single good reason why the SDWD would or should give lower rates to developers, businesses and the City. By giving discounts to developers, businesses and the City, the SDWD has to charge homeowners more. The rate study that the SDWD paid for does not mention these discounts, or explain why homeowners have to pay more.
The reason the SDWD gives the City a break is that the SDWD is run by the City Council. The OMWD has its own board. Because the City Council runs the City and the SDWD, the Council can push City costs over to the SDWD, and give the City a break on water rates. Recall the City Council has tried, unsuccessfully, to raise taxes three times in the last five years or so. The City Council can raise the water rates without a vote. This water rate increase is a disguised tax increase.
Again, please protest this increase. I have.