Election 2012: San Simeon Community Services District

San Simeon Community Services District: Questions for the candidates

San Luis Obispo - The TribuneOctober 11, 2012 

Ralph McAdams

What is the district doing right? Where is there room for improvement?

We are moving to rebuild our reserves as they have been depleted because our water and sewer rates were insufficient to pay for operational costs. The current board understands that insufficient financial reserves can make it difficult to maintain our water and sewer systems in good working condition. Unreliable utility systems can translate into declining property values and hence negatively affect everyone living in our community. Moreover, failing to maintain utility system today could lead to expensive fines and legal fees later on.

Does San Simeon need a supplemental water supply? What is the most promising option?

The major challenge to the district is water and the district is committed to acquire new sources of water in order to be able to remove the existing water moratorium. We have just completed the construction of our water filtration (Amiad) & purification system (HiPOx), a small-scale water recycling facility for non-potable water that will be used for irrigation and other non-consumption uses to save our drinking water reserves. As we move forward, it is important that we review other alternative water sources including desalination facilities, increased storage and water conservation.

Under what circumstances should water and sewer rates be raised?

There’s never going to be a time when people are going to be happy about getting their rates raised. But I would rather pay the money to have a good water, to have a good system and to have departments that work, than to pay the money in fines. In 2009, with overwhelming support from our community, the district passed a Proposition 218 water and sewer rate increase. This rate increase was a 10% plus a CPI increase for 5 years and then it will lower to 5% for another 5 years.

Mary Giacoletti

What is the district doing right? Where is there room for improvement?

Board members volunteer their time for a fairly small stipend. We have clean water. A tertiary water system has been implemented and will be functional as soon as a rate structure is agreed upon. The water/treatment plant has been upgraded, we are told. I would like to see the district expand/evolve to a level which can include important residential and visitor concerns. I would like to see a more participatory, informed community than the one we have, which often reflects a somewhat closed and antiquated mentality.

Does San Simeon need a supplemental water supply? What is the most promising option?

As Americans, we tend to waste — to the detriment of those few who try to conserve.  A perfect example is the plastic bag ban. Because grocery bags were used without regard for re-use, now we don’t have them at all. The same applies to water use. We have enough water if used wisely with an eye to conservation, which can include efficient plumbing, drought-resistant landscaping, rain-water catchment, rebates for retro-fitting.

Under what circumstances should water and sewer rates be raised?

We had a recent increase of 11.27%. Further increases should be considered only for a major improvement project, utilizing state-of-the-art technology, which would achieve higher standards and ultimately reduce cost.  Sweden, for example, has perfected such a system, eliminating “contaminants of concern” while providing a high quality of potable water.


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