People not being heard on Paso water issue
June 7, 2010
We the people, reside in a Republic and have the right to peaceful and productive dissent. Let me say, before I opine, that residing in Paso Robles these past 20 years, I can surely support my local City Council on most issues.
However, the citizens of Paso Robles are very dissatisfied with the way our current City Council has handled the Nacimiento water project. If this current City Council would have followed the good example of our City Council back in 1998, measure D-98, we would not be in this current fiasco over the Nacimiento water pipeline project.
This City is not being run as a democracy but as an oligarchy led by a few unelected public employees and elected businessmen that are not listening to their constituents. Even though the Mayor and the City Council let the public vent at the bimonthly council meetings,they seem not to listen and at times display extreme arrogance and impatience with the citizens.
Paso Robles City’s new slogan is “you pay for the units of water you use”. Well, that sounds very reasonable. However, under the new consumption rate plan, a person will be paying more for less. Our current rate for water is $1.32 per unit (748 gal.) of water.
The new proposed rate will increase annually until it reaches $4.40 per unit, the $4.40 per unit cost will continue forever (until they want to increase rates again)! So, from the current rate of $1.32 to $4.40 is a 333 percent increase in water charges.
This is a basic math computation and not “fuzzy” math as some would indicate.
Another distraction that is being used is the $18 infrastructure charge that is being taken off the water bill. This charge was always a separate charge from the consumption rates. Some want you to think,you are saving money by rescinding the infrastructure charge, that was for new development.
The public needs to know that a treatment plant hasn’t been built yet to filter Nacimiento lake water. So, lake water will not be flowing to Paso Robles water customers until then. Therefore, are you willing to pay for a commodity that you are not receiving? The answer is NO!
We must not forget about the many senior citizens that are on fixed incomes and the many struggling families that will be unable to afford these high water rates imposed by the City.
Finally, there are two major issues that are being overlooked by the Paso Robles City Council. First, it’s about following the State Constitution. Second,it’s about the rights of Paso Robles citizens to vote on financing a major capital funding project. We the people do not want to give the city council a blank check for approximately $220 million to spend without voter approval.
Noel Foerst is a retired law enforcement officer living in Paso Robles