Ratepayers fund more than water
Cambrians have done a fantastic job at conserving water. I suspect that most Cambrians, like me, took those water-saving steps in order to ensure our community water didn’t run out, not because we were seeking lower water bills. Ensuring adequate water is also why I supported the CCSD when it authorized the safeguard of the emergency brackish water treatment plant. Without water, none of us can live here.
But when we pay our water bill, we pay for more than the water used. We also pay the “mortgage and maintenance” on the infrastructure — a cost that is fixed and cannot be willed away. Those facilities must be maintained and updated. Independent of the drought, our physical plant was already suffering from deferred maintenance and support. The drought did nothing to remove that longstanding need. The lowered revenue from reduced water use only made the problem more visible.
While any rate plan has its pros and cons, perhaps the proposed new one is better at making clear that there is a minimum cost for paying for the infrastructure and that only then does each unit of water used carry an added cost.
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I support making our charges realistic and rational, and ensuring they’re sufficient to cover the true maintenance costs. Cambria cannot afford to continue to raid the general budget to pay for something it wasn’t intended to cover.
Dennis Frahmann, Cambria
CCSD should have put money away sooner
The CCSD is planning to fix our tanks all at once, but they have been wearing out for years. This will be costly and time consuming, and we should have done something about this problem years ago.
I will write this once more: If you have an appliance that will wear out in 10 years, then you put 100 bucks away each year. Then the money will be there when a problem occurs.
Clive Finchamp, Cambria
Thanks for act of kindness
In the spirit of Christmas, some wonderful person found my driver’s license, proof of liability and AAA card near my locked car and placed it under the windshield wiper blade last Saturday night.
As an elf at Santa’s booth, I was feeling good albeit tired. Not until I reached home did I discover the loss. With some dread, I started to return before noticing the addition to my windshield.
So, to my angel, I wish your kindness returned to you tenfold with my gratitude.
Ann Pope, Cambria
Five Cities recycling is better
Congratulations to the Five Cities area for its planned wastewater recycling cooperative. The new procedure will add an additional filtration and disinfecting process to the effluent and recycle into the Santa Maria groundwater basin for most of South County’s drinking water instead of discharging into the ocean. The $29.7 million project is spread over a significant Five Cities population of approximately 38,000, resulting in lower costs per capita.
Comparatively, Cambria’s complex emergency $13 million desalination project (Tribune, Aug. 19) is spread over a meager population of 6,000. Using this data, Cambria’s project debt is approximately 2.77 times greater per person than that for the Five Cities with the brackish well, waste removal, salt and particle contamination increases, and operation energy and maintenance costs. An ignored life-cycle cost guide (August 2001) to select a lowest-cost alternative could have verified this. A significant grant would offset most project costs such as permitting, design, construction and verification.
Additional continuous rate increases are expected because maintaining obsolete overhead is not commensurate with decreased sales. Will a repeat of Proposition 218, or a majority vote, be needed to stabilize water rates?
Werner Koch, Cambria