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An Open Letter to Padre Dam Municipal Water District: A 44CENT STAMP VS. UP TO 39% INCREASE IN WATER FEES

Submitted By Alpine Resident Annie Norton

We all need to drink, wash, flush and irrigate.  Padre Dam is proposing increases of up to 39% within the next 4 years. It is time for all of us to stand up and not take it anymore. Currently, the water district has approx. 25,000 customers.The district encompasses Santee, Blossom Valley, Flinn Springs, Harbison Canyon, Dehesa, Crest and Alpine. It will take 51% (about 12,750) customers to protest in order for these rates NOT to increase. The hearing date is Wednesday, August 15, 2012 at 6pm. You do not need to be present. Your letter of protest must reach their offices on or before August 15th. Padre Dam recommends that you mail your protest no later than 3-4 days prior to August 15th.

 

Protest letters do NOT need to be detailed. You just simply must state that your are opposed to the water rate increase, the water system rate increase, the sewer rate increase, etc. In other words, one sentence will suffice.

 

Protest Letters MUST include:
1) state which proposed rate(s) or fee(s) the property owner or tenant opposes
2) include your name, address, parcel number OR Padre Dam account number
3)your signature

*Only one protest per parcel is allowed.

Mail to: Board Secretary, P.O. Box 719003, Santee, CA 92072-9003

I am attaching the letter we are sending for purposes of clarity on some of the issues and how we derived the percentages of increases. For purposes of privacy, I am not including my account number in this attachment. Hopefully this will convince you that your written protest is of great value. I urge you to actively take a role in stopping this gouging of Padre Dam’s customers.

Please help get the word out. Email and call your friends and neighbors.

Also, visit PadreDam.org for the complete version of the notice.

I know we can make a difference with just a 44 cent stamp so GO DO IT!!!

Thanks,
Annie Norton


 

July 31, 2012

Board Secretary
Padre Dam Municipal Water District
P.O. Box
719003
Santee
, Ca 92072-9003

Dear Board of Directors:

This is to serve as our formal protest to the Notice of Public Hearing on rates August 15, 2012.

In order to properly protest these rate increases, your Notice states that the owner must state in writing which proposed rate or fee adjustment the owner opposes.

This customer lives in Alpine, Zone 4, RES 5 (2.0+ acres). We are assuming that RES on our statement corresponds to the RS designations in the Notice.

Upon reviewing the Notice, our first protest is the confusing manner in which the Notice explains the proposed rate/fee increases. The information given to the owner is not self-explanatory. At best, the Notice was a frustrating maze to decipher.

As indicated by the Notice, over the last five years Padre Dam has experienced a 34% reduction in water sales. The Notice also states that 80% of customers do not plan to increase their water usage. This has been attributed to water conservation requested by all water authorities throughout the southwestern United States. Praise and (surprise, surprise) rate decreases should be bestowed on customers rather than “punishment” to the tone of additional, excessive increases over the next four years.

We interpret the above to mean that Padre Dam’s business is declining. When one’s business sees such a decline, measures should be taken to proportionally balance the loss and not at the expense of their customers.

The Notice also attributes some of the proposed increases are due the higher cost of electricity which must be used to pump, store and treat water. We would like the Board to disclose if there are any projections to incorporate solar/wind power within its infrastructure in order to defray the rising cost of electricity.

The following are the specific rate increases which we protest:

 

Water System Charges

Currently, customers are charged a bi-monthly water system charge. This is a fixed fee; everyone has to pay it, regardless of the amount of water usage and even before that water flows from your faucets!

The Notice proposes to go to a monthly water system charge. We currently have a bi-monthly water system charge of $47.00 (which equals $23.50/month) This computes to a current annual fee charge of $282.00.

The Notice indicates that this charge in 2012 will increase $2.35 per month, totaling $25.85 per month or $310.20 for the year 2012. This equates to a $28.20 annual increase for just 2012 over the course of the year. This is an escalating charge. Jumping forward, in 2016, the monthly increase will be $7.65 per month, totaling an increase of $91.80/year. In 2016 our annual fee charge will accelerate to $373.80.

When you compare the current annual cost with the projected 2016 cost, it is an approximate 32-33% increase from the current rates.

These proposed increased rates are excessive and, therefore, unacceptable.

 

Eastern Service Area Water Rates

Tier One is the customer’s baseline allocation meant for indoor use.

In January 2012 the Tier One rate was $4.1338. In March 2012 the Tier One rate increased to $4.3988. This is a .265 cent increase per 100 cubic feet of water within a three-month time period.

The Notice now proposes that Tier One 2012 will be $4.75 (a 35 cent increase from the March rates.) This computes to an approximate 8% increase. However, from January 2012, when you first increased our rates, it is a 15% increase.

 In 2016, it will have escalated to $5.73 (a $1.33 increase from the March 2012 rates.) This computes to an approximate 30% increase. However, from January 2012, it is a 39% increase.

These proposed increased rates are excessive and, therefore, unacceptable.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Charles H. Norton  and Anne Falasco Norton
Account Number: XXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

 

7 comments to An Open Letter to Padre Dam Municipal Water District: A 44CENT STAMP VS. UP TO 39% INCREASE IN WATER FEES

  • I just received an email from Padre Dam. They wanted me to post this response to Ms. Norton’s Open Letter, explaining the reasons for the fee increase:

    http://www.alpinecommunitynetwork.com/2012/08/padre-dams-response-to-ms-nortons-open-letter-the-facts-on-proposed-rate-increase/

  • gregg peterson

    Is this another example of an organization that has over-committed on pensions and benefits to its employees? An organization that thought it had its own “piggy-bank” at the expense of its constituents? If this and the rest of our country was run like a business, they would know that you can’t put the burden on your customers or you’ll lose them. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have the ability to put in a well. We have to teach them the meaning of the word “no.”

  • Allyson Kermath

    Although the water rate increases are high, they were fully explained (to my satisfaction) at the community “questions and answer” session held recently at the Alpine Community Center. I had questions and assumed that other residents would have questions and/or protests but to my great surprise there were only three (yes that’s right, 3) residents that attended the meeting. Had you attended many of your questions and protests might have been answered. Padre Dam had a fully staff representation there including customer service personnel with computer terminals willing to show you in detail how your billing would be affected for your account. Now, since this is logistically difficult for Padre Dam to accomplish individually for each customer, I applaud them for the effort they took to schedule and staff these meetings. May I suggest that you take the time to contact them first and give them the opportunity to explain their increases before making a protest and urging others to do the same?

  • John Pierce

    Way to go Annie!

    I am sending this out in an email to everyone I know in Alpine as well.
    It takes 3 minutes to copy this letter, add your name, and put in your Padre Dam account number.
    This is exactly what happened with the Powerlink.
    Get involved early and stop the increase.
    If you don’t write the letter now, don’t complain when your rates go up.

  • Charles & Anne Norton

    Subscribing to comments

  • Sharon Haven

    Subscribing to comments

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