Water Rate Update


Thursday evening the Water Rate Ad Hoc Committee voted and made some recommendations.

First, the Committee rescinded our May 23rd recommendation to the City Council to use Alternative A which would have raised ALL rates 7.8% or more. All would feel the pain evenly.

 

Second, the committee voted to recommend “Alternative B”. The Committee briefing describes Alternative B as an “Alternative rate structure using 1983 Rate Study meter equivalents for all fixed charges, increasing fixed charge revenue from 12% to 18% and adjustments to commodity charges to better reflect cost of service.”

I voted NO and Mr. Jack Dean abstained from recommending Alternative B. Regardless, Alternative B was passed.

Third, I moved to recommend that the City Council exempt from the water franchise tax all new revenue generated from this new rate structure to ensure that ALL new revenue goes strictly back into the water system. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously. There appeared to be too much opposition for recommending that the council abolish the hidden tax.

Speaking to the THREE members of the public who came to the meeting, I explained that 10%-11% (depends on who you talk to and which document they look at) of the money we pay for our water bill does not go into the water system and that the money, $2.5 million FY2010, goes into the General Fund. The General Fund does not contribute any money to the Capital Improvement Program (infrastructure) but does pay for things like parks, fire, police, special club memberships for the city, and other oddities. Similarly, the Paramedic Fee does not go exclusively to paramedics- it goes into the General Fund.

The end results of the Water Rate Ad Hoc Committee work are recommendations to the City Council. Whether or not they agree with our recommendations, we will see on July 19th at the Public Hearing.

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  1. #1 by Rat's Ass on July 3, 2011

    Does any of the franchise tax go to paying for pensions?

  2. #2 by The Fullerton Harpoon on July 3, 2011

    BINGO!

  3. #3 by PJ on July 3, 2011

    So basically it’s all a tax increase, for the General Fund.

    Pensions!

    Why doesn’t Fullerton and other cities just tell the MWD to stuff it and to lower their costs?

    And I thought the city meeting was July 19th.

  4. #4 by greg on July 3, 2011

    This is NOT a done deal. Council will vote on the 19th.

  5. #5 by compton on July 3, 2011

    looks like a ill have to put a little less water in the bong every day, that is, if some corrupt fullerton pig hasn’t thrown me in jail, broken my fingers, stolen my ipad, and of course smoked my weed.

  6. #6 by Rat's Ass on July 3, 2011

    I guess what I am wondering is why the water infrastructure was left in such poor condition for so long that we now need a sudden and dramatic increase to repair it all at once? Am I overstating the situation, or were repairs ignored that should have been performed before now?

  7. #7 by Flivver41 on July 3, 2011

    I think that the franchise fee should be changed to a set dollar amount per meter, say equivellant to the average dollar amount collected now. We should also lobby to have the paramedic fee go directly into the fire department funds. If the councel is unwilling to do this then maybe it is time for a referendum to force the changes.
    As for the rate increase, this is the second or third time they have come to us for rate increases to repair or replace infrastructure with little to show for the extra revenue. I think that we need to demand a schedule of projects to be undertaken along with estimated cost and timing of compleation before any rate increases are approved. Only in this way can we start to get some control over what is going on at city hall.

  8. #8 by greg on July 3, 2011

    Rat,
    The problem is the city has relied on repairs instead of replacement of the old water lines.

    There are many dynamics which seem to get blamed for the rising cost but one thing has remained consistent: the General Fund (think property tax revenue) contributes ZERO money to the water system. Another problem might be that water receives only 3.4% of the total CIP funding. That’s just sad. Worse yet, water ranks lower than redevelopment, parks, and several other groups on the CIP priorities list. Again, just sad.

  9. #9 by nipsey on July 3, 2011

    The city had a perfect opportunity to replace water mains concurrent with the sewer replacements they did over the last few years. But, they were too cheap or short sighted to do it, so instead we get to dig up all the new pavement to fix the problem they just ignored.

  10. #10 by Curious on July 3, 2011

    Greg, did you get a second on your motion?

  11. #11 by Greg on July 3, 2011

    Yes. And the recommendation passed unanimously.

  12. #12 by Curious & Confused on July 4, 2011

    Greg, “Third, I moved to recommend that the City Council exempt from the water franchise tax all new revenue generated from this new rate structure to ensure that ALL new revenue goes strictly back into the water system. There appeared to be too much opposition for recommending that the council abolish the hidden tax.”

    If your “recommendation passed unanimously”, are you saying that your committee voted unanimously to recommend the city council redirect the 10% “tax” in the proposed water rate increase?

    Perhaps you should update your post because this important part of it is not very clear.

  13. #13 by More Confusion on July 4, 2011

    Hey wait a minute. The Council buffoons already passed their 2011-12 budget, right? If that included the new water rate and its in lieu franchise fee then they have already de facto approved the water rate when they approved the budget. Any new hearing is a foregone conclusion.

    Is that even legal?

  14. #14 by Flivver41 on July 4, 2011

    Greg, This city has for years chosen to patch and bandaid rather than address the overall infrastructure fitness. Has anyone ever herd the maintenance department,water, sewer,or street, propose any type of preventive maintenance schedule or any long term replacement plan. A maintenance departmen’s job should be to oversee all aspects of our infrastructure not just patch and bandaid. Maybe it is about time to take a hard look at how the city and its departments plan and perform maintenance. The streets are another issue that is going to come up and bite us very soon. Just look around!

  15. #15 by Abominable Snowman on July 4, 2011

    Snow Hume delved into the water issue years ago and figured out the in-lieu fee was just a double-dipping ripoff.

    Where is Snow when you need him?

  16. #16 by PJ on July 4, 2011

    Terri Sforza also wrote about the excessive perks and bennies of the MWD. Have they reformed yet, or are we still on the hook for that?

  17. #17 by havegunwilltravel on July 4, 2011

    The primary role of the city is public health and safety. Priorities are potable water, sanitary sewer, building safety, code enforcement, police, fire, paramedics, road maintenance, and storm drains. Everything else is optional, and based on the ability/or willingness of the community to pay. We ought to get our priorities in-line, and then see that the available money goes there before it goes anywhere else.

  18. #18 by Travis on July 4, 2011

    Meanwhile the city is getting ready to spend our money on these priorities:

    Safety glass and a new front desk for the Police Department: $150,000
    New target retrieval system for the Police shooting range: $60,000
    New electric gate for Basque Yard (10 year old facility): $183,000
    New window coverings for Basque Yard: $50,000
    New access card system at city hall: $25,000
    New floor at fire station 1: $35,000
    New air conditioning at fire station 1: $60,000

  19. #19 by Curious on July 4, 2011

    It sure doesn’ tsound like it

    More Confusion :
    Hey wait a minute. The Council buffoons already passed their 2011-12 budget, right? If that included the new water rate and its in lieu franchise fee then they have already de facto approved the water rate when they approved the budget. Any new hearing is a foregone conclusion.
    Is that even legal?

    It should be illegal if it’s not. I think the Fullerton city council majority just broke the law. You know that law that prohibits cities from bankrupting themselves then claiming ignorance.

  20. #20 by Greg Sebourn on July 4, 2011

    The CIP and budget do not include the proposed rates.

    BTW, the original post on my blog has been revised to include that important missing fact that the commission unanimously recommended the new rates be exempt from the franchise tax.

  21. #21 by havegunwilltravel on July 4, 2011

    I would bet that is all redevelopment funny money….not the hard currency of the General Fund.

  22. #22 by nipsey on July 5, 2011

    Speaking of redevelopment, nobody’s said a peep about the budget Brown just signed?

  23. #23 by Greg on July 5, 2011

    The official prioritization for the Capital Improvement Program:
    Fire & Police projects
    Redevelopment Agency projects
    Parks projects
    Facility capital repairs
    Sewer, water, and storm drain projects
    Arterial street repair
    Residential street repair
    Airport projects

    The age-old question of why our streets and water system are suffering is now crystal clear.

    If you would like a copy of the Memo which explains these priorities, please email me: gregsebourn@yahoo.com

  24. #24 by Fred Alcazar on July 5, 2011

    Greg, where is this list officially promulgated?

  25. #25 by Greg on July 5, 2011

    Fred, I’ll email the memo to Travis to post here. It states the logic used in determining priorities, though I think the logic is severely flawed. I don’t know if there is a process for determining the priorities beyond what the memo discusses.

  26. #26 by Fred Alcazar on July 5, 2011

    “Fire and Police projects” is a joke, of course. Meant to appeal to the “public safety” RINOs on the council.

    Redevelopment? Seriously? Why would parks be ahead of infrastructure?

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