Phone calls, emails and various social-media threads recently have sought to clarify some perceived ambiguities in the process by which ratepayers and property owners in the Cambria Community Services District can oppose or support three proposed rate increases.
The “Notice of Public Hearing on Proposed Increases to Water, Sustainable Water Facility and Sewer Rates” forms were mailed July 16, according to district counsel Tim Carmel and, separately, by a representative of the Mail Stream mailing house in Concord.
That mailing date starts the clock on the mandatory 45-day window before an Aug. 30 public hearing at which protests will be tallied and the district Board of Directors will vote on the rate hikes.
Under California’s Proposition 218, the “Right to Vote on Taxes” act, 45 days is the shortest allowable protest period.
No protest form was included in the CSD’s notices.
The district’s website at cambriacsd.org does include “Guidelines for the Submission and Tabulation of Protests,” which indicates that, for a protest to be deemed valid, it must be in written form, delivered to the district by Aug. 30 and include:
▪ A statement that it is a protest against the proposed charge which is the subject of the hearing.
▪ Name of the record owner or customer of record.
▪ The affected parcel’s service address or assessor’s parcel number.
▪ Original signature of the record owner or customer of record with respect to the identified parcel.
However, the guidelines didn’t include a preferred format, nor what was to happen if someone wants to protest the increase for one service — say, the Sustainable Water Facility (SWF) — but not the other two.
Carmel advises that “a SWF protest counts as a SWF protest and a water protest counts as a water and SWF protest.”
Protests can be hand delivered or mailed to the district office, 1316 Tamson Drive, Suite 201, Cambria CA, 93428, or submitted at the public hearing to be held at 2 p.m. on Aug. 30 in the Veterans Memorial Building, 1000 Main St.