Because our Water Matters
Trailer for our upcoming video series covering the campaign issues for the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District Director's Race
I was asked to give a succinct answer to where I stand with the current board's decision to raise fees to repair the infrastructure of our water system?
To clearly answer that question requires more than a quick response.
First, let me share with you my involvement with our water district over the last 11 months. I am the Secretary for the GDPUD Finance Committee. I am knowledgeable of the budget, the District’s assets and expenses, the District’s 5-year plan for Capital improvements, and the District’s infrastructure repairs, budgeting for repairs, and projected needs for repairs.
Fees and Rates were increased. The main thrust of the Prop 218 was for increasing Rates.
The 3 main reasons for increasing rates were:
1. Lack of resources to start replacing aging infrastructure
Not enough cash on hand
Rates are too low to qualify for grants and loans
Debt coverage ratio is too low
2. Legal Requirements
Grand Jury Recommendations
Initiate a voter-approved rate increase
Replace aging water meters and infrastructure
Offer competitive salaries and attract qualified professional staff
Review staffing levels and fill key positions with permanent staff
3. Funding to Comply with New State Mandates
Improve reservoir and stream diversion gauging
Mark Edson Dam spillway condition assessment
Update dam Emergency Action Plan
More stringent water audit requirements
So the justification was for replacing aging infrastructure.
My answer to where I stand with the decision to raise rates?
Our District could not maintain sustainability by following a pattern of emergency repairs without upgrading and improving our infrastructure. I as well as probably all of the ratepayers in the Divide agree that the rates needed to increase in order to meet the reasons given above. I agree with that decision and I have openly commended the board for making that decision.
Where I have an issue is with the amount of the rate increase, some of the methods used in the study to determine the new rate system, and the new rate system.
I as well as many ratepayers in the District have voiced their concerns of how high the new rates are.
So...if elected, you will vote you overturn the rate increase?
No. Fiscal responsibility requires the Board to listen to the community. although, many now voice their concerns about the level of the rate increase, the Prop 218 is also a community vote which was not voted to be halted. Our rates cannot and should not go back to the pre 2017 prop 218 rate increases, because we were not able to obtain low rate loans, hence the assessment for the Treatment Plant. I am proposing short term to Freeze the yearly percentage increase of 5% for treated and 10% for Irrigation. Analyze the end of year budget to see where we are with the Proposed revenue expected vs what we actually bring in. If we are above what was expected to be collected, we have some room to adjust the rates down while still promoting having revenue to be placed aside for our infrastructure replacement. Long term requires analyzing the long term infrastructure replacement over 20-25 years. We cannot replace the whole plant in 5 years, and the rate system If I use no water now, my cost is higher than when I was watering a lawn, garden, pasture, animals plus the household.usage.
Candidates for the GDPUD Board of Directors Bonnie Neeley, Lon Uso (incumbent), Mike Saunders, and Cindy Garcia answer questions from the community ahead of the Nov 2018 election.