Kathleen on the Issues
District Management - Meeting the Needs of the Organization and Customer Expectations!
Initiated policy in 2008, that has generated over $1.5 Million in revenue to help offset cost to existing customers when new connections come on line.
Initiated creation of a Helix Water District Strategic Plan, which the District did not have before and ensured that the employees, board and public were involved as key stakeholders in the process.
Supported the formation of a Committee to make Lake Jennings' Recreation and Campground facilities self-sustaining.
Supported and encouraged the District to look into inter-utility (electricity usage) contracts that generate revenue.
Supported the construction of the Operations Center Solar Project, that allowed for a win-win solution to construct shade for piping and discounted electricity rates through a power purchase agreement (no-cost). Continuing efforts to support solar projects throughout the District.
Opposed the renegotiation of the El Capitan LLC Lease in August 2007, which followed with being sued by El Capitan LLC in December 2009 and has cost the District over a $1.6 Million in legal fees to date (still no resolution).
Public Participation - This is the Ratepayers Organization!
Support education of the public and fought for re-instatement of the classroom education program for 4th graders in 2013 when it was cut from the budget.
Supported water conservation programs and outreach, including a recent public 2014 Drought Workshop.
Participated in Lake Jennings Committee meetings in order to create policy to increase revenue and keeping the lake open for public access.
Active Participation in Community Events (Mt. Helix Park Foundation, Grossmont Mt. Helix Improvement Association, Chamber Events) to provide water conservation outreach and education.
Water Rates, Policies and Budgets - Fiscally Responsible and Efficient!
Opposed excessive, inequitable and unnecessary annual water rate increases in 2009 (Extreme 5 tier proposal), 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 (5 Year Plan).
Opposed Policy changes in water rates for domestic customers with irrigation meters 2009.
Supported the one million dollar reduction in the 2011/12 Budget.
Opposed the 2013 District Budget due to the unexpected and unnecessary ramping up the Capital Improvement Program by 25%.
Initiated the 2014/15 Budget of paying down the unfunded CALPERS liability.
Water Supply and Quality - Safe and Reliable All the Time!
Supported the construction of the Carlsbad Desalination Plant in an effort to provide an additional local water supply.
Participated in meetings with local State Senate elected officials to ask for support on water recycling.
Initiated support of policies on cross-connection control program to ensure protection of water system quality.
Supported evaluation of additional water supplies by exploring the use of groundwater.
Transparency - Openness and Accountability!
Supported easier water bill and update website format and encouraged District use of Social Media (Facebook).
Demanded Board retroactively review for approval Auditors when staff hired them on their own.
Initiated and supported outreach and community forums for open discussion about water rate increases.
Opposed and fought against inappropriate and outrageous policies limiting Board Member ability to perform their duties as elected officials:
In 2010, a Policy was proposed to restrict Board Members from contacting the General Manager after business hours - policy died in the Board Room.
In 2012, a Board Member wanted to not allow Board Members to communicate with the Press. The Board President did not bring back a policy but made a statement about concerns about discussing District Business with the Public. Legal Counsel, required all emails by Board Members include a disclosure of expressing individuals opinions and not of the Board.
In 2013, Proposed Board Policy allowed a simple majority of Board Members decide whether to punish a Board Member (3-2). This policy was killed and changed to a supermajority requirement (4-1).
Opposed the adhoc Committee formation of two Board Members to pre-screen General Manager applications in 2012.
Opposed Policy & Procedures Manual (P&P) section changes on January 7, 2015 at 2pm. Over 65 P&P Sections were modified. Section 2.12-2(B) policy change would occur after November 2015 and would increase some customers $400 per billing cycle, $2400 per year. The customers affected by this change were not alerted to the public hearing and this change. My amendment to the motion was to pull the Section until the public who it affected would be notified. My motion failed.
Future P&P changes should be in the evening at a time when the public is readily available. Also, all P&P changes should be discussed in a Public Meeting. Director Scalzitti and I met privately with staff to better understand and go over all the changes.