Letter: SLVWD rate increase essential to maintaining water system infrastructure
Oct 10, 2013 | 3504 views | 5 5 comments | 113 113 recommendations | email to a friend | print

No one likes rate increases. Some folks have a knee jerk reaction and automatically oppose any rate increase, for any reason.

I for one, having lived and gardened with the rates of California American Water Co. for a number of years, am not so dead set against the rate increases that San Lorenzo Valley Water District is asking for.

I know that our water bill under CAL AM would easily be triple the amount I am paying now with SLVWD.  

CAL AM was getting these high rates and frequent steep increases and weren’t even doing the repairs that were needed.

They cared only about their corporate shareholders, and definitely not about the watershed or the community.

SLVWD is a municipally owned water system. This means it is locally owned and operated.  They have public meetings that offer a chance to become informed and offer input.  

Participating in local government by gathering information and offering input requires time, energy, and thoughtfulness.

Our lives have become so busy and distracted that we leave it up to others until something like a rate increase wakes us up.

The rate increases SLVWD is asking for has been deferred once already.

Infrastructure is not free. Big brother doesn’t automatically provide water. It takes equipment that needs repair and eventually replacement to keep water flowing efficiently and safely.

We take water coming out of our tap for granted. Especially in drought years, we can’t have old pipes leaking precious water all over the place.

We can’t keep putting off the inevitable as it will only make it more expensive.

Is a new facility necessary? I don’t know. I need to go to the meetings or read the minutes from the meetings to become informed.

I do know good clean water and a well-run water district is a fundamental requirement for a healthy community and we, as an intelligent community need to prioritize it.  

Susan Merritt, Felton
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Sal Mostacolli
October 12, 2013
This line cracks me up "No one likes rate increases. Some folks have a knee jerk reaction and automatically oppose any rate increase, for any reason."

Miss Merritt, like your knee jerk reaction to Cal Am? I remember FLOWbees saying there was no need for infrastructure repairs so therefore no need for rate increases from Cal Am.

Lot of hypocrites getting ink the papers these days.

The Watchdogs
October 11, 2013

You're right, "Infrastructure is not free". And from what we're heard from the community at SLVWD Board Meetings, Town Halls, Open House sessions, and Protest collection tables, everyone agrees that infrastructure repairs and upgrades are necessary and reasonable.

You're also right when you state that you "need to go to meetings or read the minutes" relating to the Campus project.

Better yet, if you'd like to read all the facts, and not just the abbreviated fluff within board meeting minutes, visit The SLV Watchdogs website and read the white paper on the Administrative Campus.


When the SLVWD Board went "all in" by bundling the Campus with the infrastructure upgrades, they forced the rate-payers to call their bet. But the community is holding a Royal Flush, aka "The Facts", dealt to them by The Watchdogs.
Renee Mills
October 11, 2013
Susan Merritt is being untruthful, I suspect because as an organizer of FLOW she feels a need to defend her past words and actions.

Felton ratepayer rates with SLVWD will be triple what they were with Cal Am, not the other way around as Susan erroneously asserts.

SLVWD clearly cares not one bit about the watershed as can be seen by their desire to build a gas station and 17,500 sf building on sensitive wetlands in the watershed.

Locally governed water board is meaningless when the board is made up of entrenched, stagnant, and seemingly clueless codgers. Attending their board meetings does nothing for the ratepayer except having to watch board members roll their eyes and yawn.

But biggest question is, just what the heck as SLVWD been doing all these years that maintenance was supposed to be taken care of? Making plans for the 17,500 sf campus?

They're fired!
SV Sharon
October 10, 2013
Susan, I hope you do take the time to look at the district's documents before the 24th. This is an important issue and one needs to get past the PR spin that has been floating out there.

A good place to start is with the San Lorenzo Valley Watch Dogs - www.slvwd.co. They have been digging into the water district's own documentation (they aren't making this stuff up and if you look, too, you'll see the same information), going to board meetings for a year, getting clarification at board meetings on their documentation, and taking the time to present the facts to the public.

The water district's Strategic Plan specifically states that $1.2 million will be spent EACH year over the next 5 years (that's $6 million) on the campus. Their Water & Wastewater Charges Study also indicates that they plan to spend $6 million on the campus and that the district anticipates raising $9.1 million with this rate increase. Two-thirds of this rate increase is being spent on administrative buildings.

That leaves very little money left over to go to infrastructure projects--projects that add benefit to the overall system of delivering water to our houses and keeping our drinking water safe. As far as emergency preparedness, this campus is isolated in Boulder Creek. If a disaster happens, those of us that live in the south end of the district are SOL.

Shouldn't the district be looking out for our welfare and what is best for the ratepayers?
Frank Notlef
October 10, 2013
Typical. A FLOWbie. No thanks. So disappointed.

Here are the organizations that support a rate increase - FLOW, SLVWD, Valley Women's Club.

What does that tell you.

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