The final vote was 3 YES (Verbeke, Linden, Muse) to 2 NO (Hedberg, Scalzitti) supporting the 5 year rate plans as proposed by Staff.
There were many discrepancies in the numbers and I pointed them out with no clarification, the numbers of the Cost of Survey did not match the Five Year Projections etc. See Page 15 of the 090515 COS vs. the 20150805 5 Year Projection – extreme difference in revenues.
Ironically, one of the slides in the staff presentation (080515 HWD COSS and Rate Board Meeting) was taken from the Union Tribune Article on July 27, 2015, (http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2015/jul/27/drought-water-prices-rise/?#article-copy) Page 18, stating that at Helix WD the cost of water for 15 units a month is $67.21, when I run the numbers, in our online calculator http://www.hwd.com/estimator/index.htm, once at 30 units, subtract half the month use & meter and once at 15 units less half the meter, I get $79.63 & $75.33 – not even close to the $67.21 that the District was gloating about as top 1/3rd of agencies! Gosh, even our staff did not check the Union Tribune Numbers before putting it in their power point presentation? The point that Helix was making is see, how low our water bill is compared to others? You would think they would have done the math first. I guess, they don’t think anyone is checking. Smoke and mirrors?
In fact during the meeting one of the BBK lawyers, Kelly Salt, stated that the HWD Cost of Service Plan was actually not final and that was not on the agenda for approval today, only the water rates – this made absolutely no sense, as it was clearly on the agenda to approve the Cost of Service Study – but I guess, if your lawyer states it – it must be true? She said it was not final yet –what? Or is there a possibility come the public hearing on October 7 we can make a change – possible hope?
The Staff mentioned many times uncertainty in the future, that they needed to be really “conservative (aka extreme)” in their forecasting as they did not know what the drought or the future brought.
Here is a Union Tribune Article on the meeting last night, http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2015/aug/06/helix-water-board-rate-change-notice/ .
The next step in the process, is sending out letters to our customers, 218 notice, of the proposed “up to” rate increases, and setting a Public Hearing on October 7.
As always, I welcome your comments and feedback.
Per the request of the Helix Water District Board on May 16, 2012, the following language is to be added by all Board Directors in all outgoing Director correspondence. "This correspondence, and any documents attached hereto, reflects the individual opinions and positions of the above-named Director and does not represent the opinions or positions of the District's Board of Directors or the District. Pursuant to Section 9.1-11(A) of the Helix Water District Policies and Procedures Manual, individual Directors, except as otherwise authorized by the Board, shall have no power to act for the District or the District's Board of Directors."
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Author: Kathleen Hedberg
Civil Engineer in 4th Term as a Helix Water District Board Director and Past President of the Board!