Letter to the Editor:
My take on the budget meeting night of Jan. 29. I did not do a count but I would estimate 25 to 30 displeased people. I am particularly displeased with the RDOS as they spent considerable money on a study by MMM consulting which was then put in my hands to go and sell these numbers to the residents. It took some doing as many did not trust the RDOS and I have to admit their distrust was proven that night. I kept copies of all these documents. The plan included many capital improvements to the system, a time frame and costs layout inside the time frame and costs with different levels of the grants that would only be available if the RDOS took the system over. That grant possibility was used as a reason to indicate the RDOS would be the most economical choice, no other options were even considered after that and the promised upgrades in the MMM report were put forward.
To date, none of the first year goals have been undertaken and one of those goals the SCDA system that is being talked about and is being attributed in part to this 230% cost increase, and that is in the first 18months under RDOS management, the rest is attributed to O&M (administration, operations, and maintenance) cost (which was factored in the original report) as the reason for this increase. There were three more items in the first year and another three spread over the course of fifteen years. At the end, the total cost per household if the residents took over the system and received no grant funding was estimated to be $669.23 plus $300.00 O/M for a total of $969.23. In fairness, water treatment is now on the table but there are no definitives as yet so a cost cannot be attached yet.
With the RDOS taking over the total cost with the potential of full grant funding was to be a total $520.85. The RDOS is now telling us that to cover O/M and potential SCDA costs it will cost each household $1008.00/ year. REALLY?? I worked for one of the largest construction Co. in the world and had I ever been in control of a job where the O/M portion was underestimated by that much; non-insurable unemployment would have been in my immediate future (for lack of due diligence in not checking my subordinates numbers for such a glaring error).
This increase did not include any of the still recommended upgrades that if we apply the same formula to will at minimum increase the yearly household water rate to a number greater than $3000.00 per year.
We should remember that the system was run by the Johnson family for 30 years with very little in increases. The cost per household up to 18 months ago was $300.00 per year plus $85.00 for any additional sprinklers. At that rate a modest surplus was established of if I remember right $22,000.00. That was turned over to the RDOS When they assumed control.
The water contamination issue is being blamed on the flooding from last year but if I remember the boil water notice came about prior to the flooding.
There are numerous residents that have their own wells for irrigation and have stayed on the system.so as not to run pumps through the winter months (two-tier power). Irrigation in an interface area is critical to fire prevention and many of these will now be forced to leave the system.
Do we wonder anymore why government bodies have come to be held in such low esteem and distrust?