Let’s keep our water rates affordable
I think the numbers and logic regarding a proposed San Lorenzo Valley Water District surcharge simply do not add up. Water rates fund operations, reserves and long-term debt. Large infrastructure projects, including those required due to fire damages, are typically funded via the latter. While fire expenses were not specifically planned, they were certainly expected as one of many natural disaster or equipment failure scenarios forecast in our reserve policy. You have already paid for that $5 million in reserve for this exact purpose via your water rates. There is no need to pay for it twice.
The latest approved budget cites the district has “successfully secured a $15M loan for CZU and other planned projects, with Interest rates are at near historic low, making it more advantageous to borrow for these larger projects.” Adding, “Long-term borrowing helps keep rates lower while providing the money necessary to replace infrastructure.”
As FEMA reimbursements come in, that part of the loan for fire recovery will be recycled back into other infrastructure funding. It is all good.
Budget analysis is not a pejorative term. Through this and leveraging low-interest rates, the district is budgeting a voluntary extra several hundred thousand dollars into paying down the CalPERS unfunded liability debt. The district’s position so far on the need for an additional $5 million via the surcharge is to offset a need to fund future “other” projects, the only example given publicly so far—twice—is building a new office. Even if considered urgent, there are many options available to address that separate issue.
I support the district’s leveraging of historically low-interest rates on infrastructure to help keep our water rates affordable. That makes sense. Destabilizing our water rates now of all times does not.
Please send in your surcharge protest by Aug 5.
Debra Loewen, Lompico Canyon
Pay it forward
Friday evening my husband and I had dinner at Otoro Sushi in Scotts Valley. As they were leaving, the couple from the table next to ours looked at us and said, “Have a wonderful evening!” We were somewhat taken aback given they were strangers. When we asked for our check, the server said, “Those people paid for your dinner. They thought you looked like a nice couple and bought you dinner.” WOW! I mean, WOW! We were simply stunned! In this still harsh and angry covid-world, kindness rises up. Thank you so much whoever you two are, for your random act of kindness and your active inspiration to do the same!
Suzy Hunt, Scotts Valley
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