Christmas presents for Grover Beach residents? 

April 11, 2016

Mayor John Shoals

OPINION by RONALD ARNOLDSEN

It’s a Royal Flush. Here is what is coming down the pipe. Grover Beach Mayor John Shoals in his capacity as Chair of the South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District has voted to place your septic bill on the property tax bill. In December you get a surprise on your property tax bill.

The real poop is that Oceano’s CSD board member has refused to cooperate with the agreed upon billing mechanism. Oceano has refused to bill residents for sanitary services. Oceano has stopped paying into the system and has opted to place the responsibility on the county via the property tax.

Instead of getting feedback from rate payers, or placing the issue on the upcoming ballet, Mayor John Shoals decided to abandon the current procedure of bimonthly billing for sanitary services.

In December, you will see a chunk added to your property tax.

By making concessions to Oceano, Mayor Shoals has made a big decision for the little people known as rate payers.If something stinks at the Sanitary District, it is the decisions being made by our respective board members.

Legal fees of over $800,000? More odiferous decisions for the small people of Grover, Arroyo and Oceano. Don’t wait, ask Mayor Shoals why we litigate.

Ronald Arnoldsen is a longtime Grover Beach resident and former city council member.


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aft50s

It will be far easier for the increase resulting from the pending state fines to be “lost” in the tax bills rather than shown on a bi-monthly bill.


RonHolt

There is some potential for this to be true in a future case but the SSLOCSD has already approved rate increases over several years which account for anticipated future expenses including (mostly) plant renovations needed to prevent a similar situation from creating new fines and penalties as well as resolving the current one. This was openly discussed at a meeting (in February?) as a report containing recommendations of a consultant for the amount of the needed increases. (I am too lazy to find and post the appropriate link — sorry!)


achillesheal

At least your shit is now tax deductible!


That’s a plus.


Jorge Estrada

Notice the word Septic instead of using Sewer.


Otis

scoopone — Has Shoals exercised a financing gimmick? For if can do this on the Sanitation District he may do it for the Fire Authority.


This is a serious matter that should be legally challenged!!!


Perspicacious

Talk about being raked over the Shoals!


scoopone

I don’t think Shoals has the right to add anything to a property tax bill; if he does, there may be an extra charge imposed by the county for the collection/disbursement, etc.



Make some noise GB citizens, I would but I reside n SLO.


CentralcoastRN

How is one man allowed to add a tax to all Grover Beach property owners?


Also, does this mean my water bill goes down now?


Julie

CentralcoastRN,


Grover Beach water bills are broken down here:


http://www.grover.org/documentcenter/view/2060


The $29.72 charge (every other month) will be moved to the tax roll (to be paid 2x a year) and the Grover Beach bill will no longer reflect those charges, but will still have the “City Sewer Charge.”


The charge will be going up beginning in July, as the San Dist. recently voted to raise rates. http://sslocsd.org/index.php?option=com_docman&Itemid=163


Ratepayers were sent a notice at the beginning of the year and had the opportunity to protest those rate increases — only a handful of people did.


The move to the tax roll saves the San Dist. money (about $50,000 annually) that can go to repairs and infrastructure, which will offset the need to raise rates in the future.


The tax roll may be inconvenient, but it’s about the same cost to you (plus a $2 annual fee from the county that each ratepayer will pick up).


CentralcoastRN

No, it seems the tax is paying for an unnecessary full time administrator salary and car allowance, plus severance package. This is Grover Beach, not Newport Beach! Are you freaking kidding me?!?!?


RonHolt

This editorial is not entirely accurate. The basic situation is that the Oceano Community Services District (OCSD) was charging the Sanitation District (SSLOCSD) a very high per-capita fee to collect the portion of the water/sewer bills due to the SSLOCSD. It was significantly higher than the amount charged by the City of Grover Beach and much higher than that charged by Arroyo Grande.


As part of the effort to bring the SSLOCSD back into financial stability, the SSLOCSD board was looking for a way to make the payments more equitable between Oceano, Grover and AG. (Jim Hill and John Shoals were behind this effort.) The OCSD claimed they couldn’t afford to collect sewer fees for anything close to what AG was doing and made an offer that was basically a continuation of past rates. This was unacceptable to Hill and Shoals and most of their constituents.


They investigated an option of letting the county do the billing with property taxes rather than using city and OCSD water bills to collect them. They found that the county could do so and that the cost would be slightly lower than what the City of AG was charging per connection. They decided that, since Oceano wouldn’t/couldn’t come close to matching that, they should just go with the county property tax as the fairest and lowest cost way for all Sanitary District customers to pay their bills.


There are drawbacks to this which have been discussed and debated. Billing property owners instead of residents means that rental owners are going to have to raise rents to cover their increased taxes and all property owners will have to make budgeting adjustments to pay in two annual payments instead of six. Residents will have the sewer portion of their water bill eliminated. Their SHOULD be some short-term benefits in the overall cost of sewer service going down slightly. (More for Oceano residents, slightly more for Grover Beach residents.) This will take a little time to put into action as their are procedures to follow to do this.


Finally, there will be future increases in the sewer rates as the SSLOCSD MUST upgrade its facilities to meet standards and avoid future massive fines like the one they have wasted so much money fighting from a few years back. Yes, you can ask Mr. Shoals why they continue to poor money into futile legal efforts to fight a fine. (They have spent more to date than the fine itself!) THAT is something for which he should be held to answer. The switching of the billing from water bills to property tax bills is not something for which he should be criticized.


RonHolt

Oops, typos!

“There” not “Their” in two places

“pour money” not “poor money”

Any others?

(I failed to proofread before hitting “Post.”)


Rambunctious

I hate that when that happens…most blog and message board websites have an edit tab…why they can’t get with it here escapes me.


ajdury

Thank you Ron, for shining a brighter light of “fact” on this opinion piece.


One other item I would like to clarify:


In lieu of writing “Instead of [Mayor Shoals] getting feedback from rate payers . . .”, it is infinitely more accurate to write “instead of rate payers not attending these Sanitation District meetings and giving feedback . . .”.


This billing issue has been discussed many many times at the San District board meetings . . . where ratepayer attendance is next to nil.


I can name two people from Grover who attend these meetings with any regularity, and the room seats over a hundred! At best, on a good night, there are about 15 total ratepayers in attendance.


One of those is former Grover Mayor Debbie Peterson. She has continually fought for ratepayers in the 5Cities, while in AND out of office.


The Sanitation District is slooooooowly righting itself, thanks mostly to AG Mayor Jim Hill, District 3 candidate Debbie Peterson, District plant manager John Clemons and the vigilant residents at the meetings. It’s been a long uphill battle for the rate payers, while John Wallace kept driving his BRINKS truck to and from the plant every day.


lizdoukas

Why was the fine imposed? what has been going on for 20 years? why wasn’t all this done before? This is as specious as saying we must increase water rates because the community conserved and met reduciton guidelines and there’s “not enough money” to run our water delivery system–THEY COULDN’T HAVE FIGURED THAT OUT BEFORE?? Citizens, please, money has been going somewhere all these years, but not to where it should have been–keeping our system upgraded and current. What you need to look at are the “consultant” fees, the “general costs” associated with, in the end, having done nothing!! and now we’re being asked to pay for it again?? Mayor Shoals “sounds” like he’s doing us a favor by going this route, but what led to having to do this? why are decades-long systems now “insufficent” and costly? Look at the history of this county–in order for us to move forward we must look at the mistakes of the past. Unfortunately for us citizens who bear ALL costs, the money has gone elsewhere…


justbeware

The sewer charges will be deleted from your water bill and added to your property tax bill instead. If you don’t own property, your sewer bill will most likely come to you via a rent increase.

Be prepared.


Shoals decided to punish GB and AG ratepayers–he didn’t have the guts to tell Oceano to pound sand when they chose to stop collecting sewer fees! AG and Grover have continued to bill as they have for years…we can thank Shoals for allowing the tail of Oceano to wag the dog. This is his idea of “being fair to all agencies”.

Shoals is more concerned with aligning himself with Matt Guerrero and Mary Lucey than he is his own ratepayers.


Kaiser Bill

Are you surprised? Total lightweight John Shoals is a LOBBYIST for PG&E.


analyticone

Ron Arnoldsen served on the Sanitation District board in 2002 and 2003 at which time the residents were well served. Arnoldsen has the business and government background and track record to provide good feedback on what happened once the slide began when John Shoals joined the board in 2004.


ajdury

“Ron Arnoldsen served on the Sanitation District board in 2002 and 2003 at which time the residents were well served.”


*spit-take*


Aaaahahahahahahaaaahahahahahahahahahaaaaa ahahahahahahahahaaaaaahhhahahaha *gasp* aaaahahahahahahahahaaaaa aaahahahahhhhhhaahahahahahahahahaaa ha ha ha.


Have you read a little thing called The Grand Jury Report? Or, better yet, The Knudson Report? The residents were BONED.


Buh-OWNED in that time-frame, by John Wallace and The Wallace Group, thanks to the San District board’s carte blanche approval of his glaring and egregious conflict of interest.


Thanks for your part in giving us a $1.1 MILLION DOLLAR FINE Mr. Arnoldsen, as well as racking up a massive legal bill to fight it, all the while abetting Wallace to steal $4.6 million dollars. With friends like you, what rate payer needs enemies?


ajdury

In case you don’t have your own hand-tooled leather-bound copy of the Knudson report ;)


http://sslocsd.org/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=532&Itemid=163


horse_soldier

Could it be that Mr. Arnoldsen found himself in the same situation as Arroyo Grande Mayor Jim Hill does now? If he served on the board with Ferrara, and the representative from Oceano voted as Mayor Shoals and Guerrero or Lucey are known to do, then like Hill, he would often have been on the losing end of a 2-1 vote.


I do not know if this was the case during Mr. Arnolsen’s time on the board, but I have watched enough since Hill was elected to know this is unfortunately what he faces.