People who enjoy going to Cambria Community Services District meetings — or who want to learn more about some specific district topics, such as fire protection and rate increases — likely will have lots of opportunity soon to do both.
There’ll be two workshop meetings on how the district should provide fire-prevention service to the community (1 to 3 p.m. Monday, Aug. 31, and 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3); and two workshop meetings on the strong likelihood that district customers will face a choice between reduced services or paying higher rates for water and sewage treatment. Dates for the latter set of meetings hadn’t been determined by press deadline, according to General Manager Jerry Gruber, but he expects them to be held soon.
There could also be another special meeting in September, Gruber said Tuesday, Aug. 25, the agenda for which could include the district Board of Directors considering:
A revised groundwater management plan (required if the district is to get an already-approved $4.3 million drought-related grant).
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An update on an emergency county permit for emergency removal of dead trees.
Tree-removal funding from PG&E, through the county’s Fire Safe Council.
Revisions or additions to an already daunting list of cost-saving measures approved by the directors Aug. 19.
However, Gruber added, those topics might be addressed instead at the board’s Sept. 24 meeting.
At the fire-prevention workshops, Cambrians will be able to learn more about the differences between having their own stand-alone Cambria Fire Department and Cal Fire crews in town, as is the case now, or having Cal Fire perform the functions of both departments.
Currently, Cambria Fire is responsible for protecting residential properties, while Cal Fire has wildland responsibility, because Cambria is in a state responsibility area (SRA).
Board Vice President Muril Clift said Aug. 19 that for the Aug. 31 and Sept. 3 workshops, “we’re committed to an open, listening meeting” at which they’ll be collecting information from ratepayers and residents. The sessions are to “be free-flowing meetings. I don’t think we’ll have a 3-minute clock going” to limit speakers because they want to encourage “an open discussion. Our position is we’re there to listen and take notes.”
Members of the Fire Protection Ad Hoc Committee will combine what they learn at the workshops with data from district staff, he said, to prepare a questionnaire (probably to be mailed out with CCSD bills) to get “a broad perspective from the community” on the future of Cambria firefighting.
The rate-increase workshops would follow the prescribed pattern for the state-mandated Proposition 218 process. T
hat law says, in effect, that before the district’s rates can rise, those who will pay the increased rates must be given a full description of what the increases will provide, what would happen if the rate increases aren’t
approved, and an opportunity for each ratepayer to lodge a protest, should he or she wish to do that.