The Millview County water district (CWD) in Ukiah, CA has proposed changes to water rates, effective June 2009.
This blog is to ask some questions about these changes, and also to get your opinions.
Disclaimer: This blog and its author are not part of MCWD, and do not represent the district an any way. We are customers of the district, and we provide this page as a public service to families, industries, and other users of the district.
Here is a quick summary of the changes as they effect water customers:
- Double the water rates for an “average family” from $344 per year to $681 per year by 2011.
- That’s a 98% increase!
- Add more than $14 million dollars of new projects, with millions of dollars of debt to fund it.
As customers of this district, we need to challenge these increases, especially during a time of economic hardship for our area.
It would be reasonable to suggest an increase of 20%. Maybe even 30%, but they want to increase charges by 98%!
Why the changes?
Why do they want to up the water rates? We need to ask some serious questions:
- They want to purchase more water rights. ($4M) Seems reasonable, but the question is, who are they purchasing it from? MCWD has been around a long time, don’t they already own the rights to the water? Why are they paying excessive prices for these new rights? ($1447 per acre foot)
- They want to add expensive new equipment. ($2-3M) Right now the economy is contracting. Is this the best time for such expansion?
- They want to automate the meter reading. ($400,000) Why? Is that really necessary right now? Are they planning to fire someone?
- They hired costly consultants, who will be costing about $500,ooo over the next couple years. That’s a lot of cash for a small district, and can’t the MCWD do this work itself? Isn’t that why they have a staff?
- Increased administration costs of 40%. Why?
- They want to make other capital improvements ($5M), such as move some tanks around, build some roads, update equipment. But, what are the priorities? Does it all need to happen right now?
This is the same pattern we see in the local county and state governments. Hire expensive consultants, who take over and drive costs way up, and put all of us consumers in greater debt.
What can you do about it?
A public meeting will be held on Weds, May 6, 2009 at Mendocino College, room 5380 (in the CPVA building located at 1000 Hensley Creek Road, Ukiah.)
This is the time to state your opinion regarding these water rate changes. The more the better.
If you cannot make it, you can send a letter to the district directly stating your opinion.
If you’re concerned, please post a comment.