Friday CSD held a meeting to discuss their financial shortfall and ways to cut costs and increase revenue to avoid running out of money before the end of this fiscal year. The auditor told the board president Emery Ross that if CSD kept going the way they are now CSD would be out of funds by April 2011. The board also directed Charise Reeves the CFO to start the Prop 218 process and to give the board several alternative rate and/or service charge increases for the board to review at the next meeting. Folks, this is very troubling but not surprising news.
Some directors blamed ratepayers who protested the two recent Prop218 rate increases. The board decided by a board vote, the ratepayers did not have a vote. Blaming others for what was their responsibility is wrong. The first Prop218 meeting for a water rate increase, they proposed 4 yr increases and voted in a 2-year increase. At the second Prop218 meeting for increasing the assessment on vacant lots, it was determined, that they had to do a ballot vote and so could not proceed with their Prop218 and it was stopped by a vote of the board again not the ratepayers.
Our current situation is not the fault of any one board, management or ratepayers but the cumulative bad decisions made by many over years. In addition, laying blame at this stage of the game is pointless. If we do not do a Prop218, we will not have water services in April. If we have no water what are our homes and property worth? Those of us with mortgages will find that we cannot get fire insurance.
I am afraid that as ratepayers, we really do not have a choice here and we will have to face the situation. What we can do going forward is attend meetings so that we know how the money is being spent before the fact not after.
In closing, I have to commend President Ross (who is running for reelection) for having the intestinal fortitude to start and have this Prop218 process completed just before the election.