Commentary: Lompico residents suffer from water board's decisions
Aug 19, 2013 | 8591 views | 2 2 comments | 313 313 recommendations | email to a friend | print

     The Lompico County Water District will be holding a Public Hearing to discuss the proposed rate increase. These hearings are a mere formality. Nothing discussed will change the minds of the Board of Directors. The only avenue available to those in opposition to the rate increase is to send a letter, directly to the Lompico County Water District office, stating your opposition to the rate increase. If 255 letters are received representing a majority of the meter holders, (simply being a voter is not enough) in opposition to the rate increase it will be blocked. Otherwise, the Board of Directors will pass the rate increase with a simple majority vote.

     The last rate increase was for an estimated $80,000 increase in revenue. This new rate increase is going to be an additional 35 percent increase (according to trusted source). The 35 percent is not what the board feels they need, merely what they think they can pass without too much opposition. Based upon revenues of $400,000 annually, this new increase would amount to $140,000.

     Aside from the last rate increase, the water district has not had to pay the $100,000 salary for a manager (they fired the last manager). Why is it they cannot run the district with an additional $180,000?

     One reason is that in firing the last manager, they did not spend enough time looking into the labor laws, to realize that when you fire an employee, that employee must be paid in full for all monies owed to him or her. Their lack of knowledge resulted in a law suit, which cost legal fees, court costs and etc. and ended in a settlement, where LCWD is paying the former employee $20,000 per year until paid in full.

     Another reason is that the current board approved a repair to the water main that services the lower Lake Blvd. assuming that the repair was covered under the original FEMA grant. When the bills were submitted, FEMA issued a check only for the funds remaining from the original grant. The Board was forced to borrow the rest of the monies from SLV Water District to pay for the repairs. They are repaying that loan plus interest.

     Then we have the brilliant decision to cut costs by opting out of CALPERS, the state employee’s pension fund. Not looking into the ramifications of this decision, our board was encumbered with a debt that has been reduced by the county to about $100,000.

     The following chart, extrapolated from the County Health Services, January 29, 2013 report to the County Board of Supervisors shows water usage within the county.

 

 

Water Supplier

Connections

Population

Acre ft/yr

Acre ft/Conn.

Acre ft/person

Santa Cruz City

24300

95000

11054

0.454897119

0.116357895

Watsonville City

15000

63700

7960

0.530666667

0.124960754

Soquel Creek

15000

49000

4795

0.319666667

0.097857143

SLV

6085

19000

2026

0.332949877

0.106631579

Scotts Valley

3600

11300

1640

0.455555556

0.145132743

Central Water

800

2700

583

0.72875

0.215925926

Lompico

500

1300

83

0.166

0.063846154

Big Basin

580

1500

240

0.413793103

0.16

Mt. Hermon

530

1400

250

0.471698113

0.178571429

Forest Lakes

330

900

140

0.424242424

0.155555556

Smaller Water Systems

3000

8000

1800

0.6

0.225

Individual users

8000

20000

5000

0.625

0.25

  

Lompico residents use the smallest amount of water per person and currently pay the highest rates in the county for that honor!

     It is my belief, that we Lompicians should recall our board of directors for gross incompetence, and petition the County to take over the operation of Lompico Water District. The county would then task SLV Water district to assume the operation of Lompico Water District. We would still have to pay a tax bond for the actual costs of the assumption, but it would put an end to this merger debacle.

     In the mean time, I urge all Lompicians who oppose this rate increase to write a letter of protest to the Lompico County Water District.

Ben Bennett

Lompico Resident

Comments
(2)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Theryl McCoy
|
September 14, 2013
People of Lompico, you should not complain about the water rates. You have a very small service population. You need to bite the bullet and come to terms with the cost of sanitizing and distributing water. You wanted to be free of CalAm? This is the true cost. How does Forest Lakes do it? How does Mt Herman do it? Be thankful you are in control of your own water, and not some company from Germany. I hope we at SLVWD to not have to take over your liabilities.
Bill Smallman
|
August 26, 2013
Ben, I disagree with you on the CalPers issue. They are a huge State agency that we have little control over. I also disagree with the Lake Blvd Main repair, it was paid for 100% by FEMA.

I do think we are not spending money effectively, especially on repairing the Lewis Treatment Plant, which I would of fixed by June of this year. We are now going to spend 55K for an advanced system, which I do not believe is worth the $. So, I am against the rate hike for that reason alone.


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