Concerned Citizens of Paso Robles' statement on the city's water rate proposal

The membership of CCPR has had the opportunity to review the City's newest water rate proposal. Though appearing well intended in its attempt to incorporate many of the ideas presented at the City's water rate workshop, each of the three alternative plans presented in varying degrees by Ms. Halley in Mr. Monn's memo still appear to fall short of being lawful and equitable, and even affordable for many people living in our community. In short, each plan is in need of further work and revision to reflect thesubstantive changes called for by voters in our City's past Nov. 2009 election.

In fairness and respect to taxpayers in our community, any plan chosen by City council for voter approval must reflect an actual substantive change from the previous. We envision a rate plan that at long last turns aside from merely making cosmetic changes to one that is actually lawful and more forthright with ratepayers. To cite but one simple example, whatever happened to the County Grand Jury's directive that the Nacimiento charge be separately identified on any water rate proposed by the City? The January 2010 water rate proposal(s) still gives no indication to water customers of how their Nacimiento charge is actually being collected and obligated.

As we have done in the past, we will be happy to work with city staff and other members in our community to help arrive at a solution that is lawful, equitable and more affordable. CCPR members will continue to use all legal resources at hand to help assure the citizens in our community that their wishes, pocketbook, and voting rights are protected and held sacred. Most immediately, we are looking into the legality of City's staffs' apparent desire to circumvent issues of election law now posed by the anticipated,unnecessary, and costly initiation of yet another citywide Proposition 218 process. And finally, while lowering water charges on any rate proposal are welcome, they are only acceptable if they meet the legal tests under 218.