Drowning in Water Bills

§ San Juan resident John Perry kicks things off with an Open Letter to the San Juan City Council and City Manager Joe Tait concerning runaway costs at the City water operations:

At the February 2, 2010 Public Hearing, the City Council sat stoically as residents berated their decision to increase domestic water rates by 78 percent over the next 8 years. Although questions were asked of the City Council by public speakers, no answers were forthcoming from our elected officials or the City’s staffers. So it is time to ask some hard questions again:
Since no Council member questioned my calculation that it cost the water rate payers of San Juan Capistrano $196,915 in the month of December 2009 to be water self-sufficient, can I assume that this has been going on since the Ground Water Recovery Plant (GWRP) was opened in 2004?

The GWRP has been in operation for 55 months through December 2009. If we use the base figure of $196,000 per month, the cost of self-sufficiency totals $10,700,000. Can this really be true? If not how much extra did it cost the City to make water instead of buying MWD water? Please have Cindy Russell do the calculation.

I have reviewed the MWD master plan and cannot find where in the plan the MWD will be unable to meet currently identified or future water demand. The City Council says we must be self-sufficient at any cost because we can’t depend on MWD in the future. I can’t find documents to support that allegation. Could you please identify the documents published by the MWD that confirm they can’t meet future demand.

Since it looks like we will have above average rainfall and above average Sierra snow pack, MWD may choose not to impose the projected rate increase in June 2010. Will the City still impose the adopted 18 percent water rate increase scheduled for June 2010? If so, please justify the need for the increase.

The domestic ratepayers are being required to pay for the over $6 million capital cost of recycled water infrastructure in accordance with action taken be the City Council on February 2, 2010. During the meeting, the council members assured the public that everyone was being charged their fair share and that the rate structure did not subsidize any one class of water user. It seems that the domestic users are subsidizing the recycled water users by paying for the recycled water pipelines, street repairs, pumps, valves, and reservoirs. This should considerably reduce the actual cost of recycled water to the users at the expense of domestic ratepayers.

Which brings up another question:

How much will recycled water actually cost the City to produce including the purchase price of the recycled water, the operational costs of the city, and the past infrastructure cost and including the future bond interest and redemption? Please quote the cost of the recycled water in acre-feet so we can compare the cost to that charged by the MWD. Does the City plan to charge the recycled water user the full cost of producing this water so we won’t have another deficit to make up?

I hope the action by the State Water Board holding Chevron responsible for cleaning-up the MTBE in the ground water will eliminate the need for an MTBE surcharge in the future. The surcharge was postponed on February 2, 2010 at the suggestion of Mark Neilsen to assure equality of charges to all ratepayers.

Does the City still plan to charge the ratepayers for water loss because of MTBE contamination of the “Dance Hall” well? There seems to be a problem with the City’s claimed loss of $1.45 million to purchase water from the MWD because of the shutdown of this well. Please provide your calculation of how the City arrived at the figure of $1.45 million.The city water ratepayers are awaiting your answers to the above questions.

§ In the November election, water users and taxpayers of San Juan Capistrano will have the opportunity to vote on whether three members of our current City Council have adequately managed the City's water enterprise.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

A big THANKS to this new publication in SJC. Credit is to be given to all of you for saying what most of us in San Juan Capistrano is thinking but afraid to voice. I especially want to thank Kim McCarthy on her article on the Impact of Mass Illegial Immigraton. Kodoos to you!!!! Keep up the good work!!!!!
Ev Huizenga, Resident

Anonymous said...

As an ICE employee and a long time resident of SJC I have sadly watched our wonderful small town change and not for the better.

Kim McCarthy, my congratulations to you for speaking up. I would like you to investigate the plght of illegal immigration and the impact that it has on our city in regards to crime and the criminal aliens living next door to us in poor as well as upscale housing.

SJC has opened its arms to these immigrants by providing them all the comforts that they are accustomed to in their native homes. These businesses cater to their needs and act as a magnet to draw them here. Not to mention, all of the social aid at tax payer’s expense. Before, City Council allows a new business to open their doors. City Council needs to get serious about the long term impact the new business will have on our community.

Anonymous said...

The City water operation appears to be yet one more way for government to justify its continuous expansion. Of course, we can be absolute confident that this professionally run water agency is producing drinking water of the highest quality. Right?

Anonymous said...

Thank you John Perry for raising all of the points that you did in your very informative and interesting article. I hope that the city fathers will address each and every point that you have brought up. We as tax payers deserve answers to these questions, and our elected officials owe us these answers.

R.M. Boucher said...

First, how did you get my private email address? I know I would never give it to an organization that reminds me of the “Tea Baggers”. I want it removed from your newsletters.

It is amazing to me that your type of group was not around during the Bush Administration. Why not? The Bush Administration ran up the largest deficit in modern history. Go to zfacts.com and check out the facts that during the Regan and Bush administrations our national debt soared.

You say that SJC city does not need to build a new facility just lay some people off. “City Hall is too small: the number of City employees has outgrown the existing space, as one might expect. But how about this for an idea: instead of spending millions of dollars on a new facility, let’s reduce the number of employees. Cut the frills and social engineering programs and get back to the basics--public safety, infrastructure, and water. Problem solved”.

Now that’s a real answer, isn’t it? Lets put more people out of work, on unemployment, cut down on their ability to pay their mortgage/rent, pay their bills, and provide for their families. Why not have more people on the streets for cities to take of and taxes going to the agencies that will end up supporting them. Yes, why not do that.

Although I do agree with your concern about illegal immigration, wouldn’t it be better to work with the governments of the most offending countries for them to start taking care of their own citizens? Why aren’t the United Nations and other world organizations taking the lead to educate these countries to provide decent jobs/wages, decent homes and a stable way of life to their citizens? Most immigrates seem to prefer their own countries and environments. Have you seen the “Little Saigon”, “Mexican Village”, etc signs? Perhaps if they had better ran governments their people would stay home and not cross borders.


But of course I think this all comes down to the fact that you don’t like a “Black Man” in the White House. If that’s not true than where were the protest when Bush was declaring illegal wars and ruining our Country?

So please remove my email address from your little close-minded group, I want no part of this.

R. M. Boucher

Anonymous said...

Great job John Perry. Something tells me there is more to uncover here with the GWRP. I think Mr. Perry is on the right trail.

Anonymous said...

R.M. Boucher:
You liberals crack me up. If your post wasn't so stupid it would be laughable.

We are talking about the City Hall and the possible abuse of water in SJC and now IT'S BUSH'S FAULT,,,,,,,,AGAIN! And, we are racists because we don't like a black president. You need to be on medication.

If we all were against a black President - he wouldn't have been elected in the first place. Bush spent 400B in his 8 years (not including the Stimulus that he passed before end of his 2nd term)and Mr. Obama has spent 1.43Trillion in less than 2 years and is searching for more ways to increase that number. Those are the facts, please stick to them.

Anyway, as far as I know I received this newsletter on my doorstep. What BS for you to say this newsletter came to you via your email. You must be delirious to think anyone would believe that. After reading your rant I'm sure everyone would like for you to be taken off any further "intelligent" discussion.

There is nothing wrong with questioning the Powers that Be to see if OUR local tax money is being used wisely or not!

Anonymous said...

A big thanks to John Perry for starting this website, and for his letter(s) to the city of San Juan. I like your direct questions to the city council. I think you capture the thoughts of most of the city residents, but YOU spend the time to ask them.

And a HUGE thanks to Kim McCarthy. She is not afraid to speak up against illegal immigration and many other issues. You notice when others attack her, they call her a racist, but they don't address the issues she is raising. I am so fed up with all the illegals (CRIMINALS) in our town.

As an 11 year resident, I couldn't think of a better place to live. Especially with John & Kim in our community.

Anonymous said...

Dave Adams the previous city manager told me the city has prevented the well from being operated in order to bring a lawsuit against Chevron. It looks to me they are using it to profit twice from the problem, charging the citizens to recover the costs and recover it again from Chevron in a lawsuit. While I have no love for Chevron, they did offer well over a year ago to install a carbon filter which would virtually eliminate the MTBE which is currently at a drinkable level unfiltered.

Anonymous said...

I can't afford one more fee increase. I am not getting public assistance like many in SJC. I'm not rich like those in Marbella. Please do not raise the cost of water.

I have no gated community to hide in.

What is left of the middle class is being robbed by government.

Who do I need to vote out next election. I always vote.

S. E.

Anonymous said...

S.E.
You need to vote out all of the "irresponsible" democrats that think taxes are the answer to everything. They will tax whoever has money without any discretion which is the middle class....and will be the first to give amnesty, medical, housing, free tutoring to illegals. The healthcare reform is another way to get our money...tax, tax, tax.

Look at Unemployment. Ninety-nine weeks is what the Democrats have approved for people out of work. The maximum is $475/week. Do you think anyone is going to go out and get a job when they can stay home and collect. If unemployment went away tomorrow - the unemployment number would change drastically.

Listen to Bill O'Reilly daily at 5:00 PST. You will get the real news on what's happening.

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