We are in for a bumpy and expensive ride.
The “Majority of Three” (Barton, Punte and Day) on the CSD board has voted to increase stand-by fees on all undeveloped lots without meters to $240 per year (a whooping 400% increase on a 1-acre lot). Moreover, this increase will go on their tax bill. While those of us on metered lots will be paying the $27.00 service charge for at least another 6 months. In addition, they intend to increase installation fees from $3500 to $6500 per installation. These Capital Facilities Fees only require a board vote and resolution to enact.
On the surface, sounds like a good deal for residents and a bad deal for undeveloped lots. However, if you look a little harder you will see that this is a bad deal for all. If CSD can get away with a 400% increase on lots that do not have meters, nor use the water and doubling the installation fees on property owners then what do you think is coming down the road for those of us who do use the water.
The economy is circling the drain; foreclosures are at record heights with more to come and unemployment in Tuolumne County at 15.6%, Mariposa County 14.5% and statewide 12.6%. How many of these undeveloped lot owners do you think are going to pay and how many will walk away from their property? Our property values are already in the toilet and this will have an extremely negative impact on them.
CSD thinks that 90% of the property owners will pay this increase and I think that they are not living in the real world on this issue. They will be doing well if they get 2o% to pay. What would be wrong with raising the rates in a tiered fashion over a period of years on these undeveloped lots? For instance, they could raise the yearly rate by 10-20% per year over a designated time. This way the CSD stands a much better chance of being paid.
I was told by a reliable source that the employee that authored this is promised a 10% raise if this goes through. Now I do know that when we had the last rate increase all the employees at CSD got generous raises. So is this 10% raise rumor or fact? You decide.
Has the board recouped the thousands of dollars spent for meters that do not work? Has the board tightened their belts and made the necessary cuts in operating costs? Did you think they should be planning to spend over ½ million dollars ($601,000) in 2010/2011 on salaries and benefits for 6 full time and 2 part time employees? Do board members deserve to collect $100 per meeting? My answer to all is a resounding NO!
To stop this insanity we need to protest this increase by sending in protest letters stating no to the increase and we need to pack the CSD on June 28. Please send your letters of protest to the Hacienda (see sample ltr) or hand carry them into the meeting on June 28.