By Alan Day
District 5 representative
My welcome to EID: Within about 5 minutes of my first board meeting in December three months ago, as El Dorado Hill’s newly elected representative, I was criticized and lectured by a couple of my fellow directors … even before I had said or done anything. Then, was told “Welcome to EID!”
Ah well, I knew what I was getting into. However, not every meeting has gone that route, we’ve had some positive meetings, but we have had some heated discussions as well. I do want to point out that the staff at EID has been very professional and helpful.
EID rates headed up: The biggest news is EID continues to raise our rates at a rapid pace. The primary force behind the rate increases appears to be to help manage and pay for the massive debt that EID rang up over the past 10 years.
We had a 5 percent increase (passed in 2010 by the board) that just took affect on this Jan. 1. Right on top of that EID sent out a “218 Notice” in February that, if you comb through it laboriously and carefully, tells you our rates are changing and going up even more, through 2015. These proposed rate changes were voted on in 2011 prior to my election.
In summary, depending on your usage, the water rates are going up, based on 2011 rates to the ending rates in 2015, about 45 percent; sewer charges approximately 15 percent; and recycled water around 55 percent.
Go to EID.org to review online the “218 Notice” that was mailed out about the rate changes and increases. There is also a “Rate Calculator” on the website if you want to enter your specific data and “crunch the numbers.”
As I pointed out at a board meeting the 218 Notice, while perhaps legally “ok,” could be considered disingenuous and is at best confusing when it came to clearly and succinctly communicating the overall changes. To the credit of the EID staff they have since been working to do a better job at communicating the rate picture a little more clearly.
If you wish to protest the rate increases, please let EID know by 1) sending a letter before March 26 to: Clerk of the Board, El Dorado Irrigation District, 2890 Mosquito Rd, Placerville, CA 95667 that includes your name and street address or parcel number; and 2) please attend the public meeting Monday, March 26, 6 p.m. at the Cameron Park Community Center at 2502 Country Club Drive.
A readable summary of what’s going on was recently published by the Village Life on Feb. 29: “EID by the numbers – EID proposes four years of rate increases” to read it go to: http://www.villagelife.com/news/eid-by-the-numbers-eid-proposes-4-years-of-rate-increases/
Employee medical benefit cost savings: The board recently directed EID management to negotiate with employees a cost sharing plan to hopefully save EID over $400,000 in 2013, and beyond. The employees have agreed and we approved the changes at the last meeting on March 12. This is a good start on reducing costs, but I feel we can, and need to, do a lot more. So with that in mind I made a proposal …
$2 million budget reduction proposed and shot down: I had placed on the agenda for the last meeting of March 12 the following proposal: “In light of the significant and long-term rate changes and increases the Board is asking customers to pay over the next several years, I recognize that, like many other public agencies, EID must reduce it’s spending even further. I therefore propose that the Board direct the General Manager and staff to identify, and report back in 90 days or sooner, specific goals for reduction or elimination in the operating budget that will result in two million dollars of permanent, structural, ongoing savings. The reductions are to be phased in over two years: $1 million dollars from the 2013 budget and an additional $1 million dollars from the 2014 budget to allow enough time to implement in an effective manner. These savings can be used to partially offset rate increases.”
After discussion I made the motion and, to his credit, Director Osborne though not enthusiastic was open minded enough to second the motion. Unfortunately the other three directors, lead by Director Wheeldon (who now, with redistricting, represents parts of Serrano in El Dorado Hills and parts of Cameron Park) moved and voted to table the proposal, effectively killing it. By rule I am not allowed to bring it back for at least six months.
Also participating from the audience in shooting down my budget cut proposal was none other than former Director Harry Norris (whom I defeated just recently) who agreed with Directors Wheeldon, Fraser and George that they should “kill” or table the proposal. Director Osborne and I voted against tabling the proposal, to no avail.
The excuses for not even letting the GM and staff work on this budget cut proposal included “now is not the right time” and “they can’t budget that far in advance.” Which I find disappointing and mind boggling given that, as I pointed out to the board, now seems to be the time the board wants to raise rates over multiple years and set in motion rate increase far in advance … but, not discuss setting goals for reducing spending?
To contact me please go to Day4EID.com and use the contact page.