Wednesday, June 1, 2016

• EVMWD Rate News

Drought Surcharges Could Come Off Starting June 1, 2016

The EVMWD board will consider removing surcharges at the next board meeting June 9th, 4pm.

Last week I heard some rumblings regarding the drought surcharges that we've been paying since last year, about to be removed from our bills. 

So I asked the elected water official in my area, George Cambero, about it. He asked if I'd like to sit in on their next meeting where it was going to be discussed. 
The meeting lasted about 90 mins, and after it was over I asked Director of Legislative and Community Affair, Greg Morrison, to answer some questions about some of the things I heard.

 WR  Can you give me some background on why the drought surcharge was necessary in the first place?
 GM  If the board approves staff's recommendation next Thursday, June 9th, surcharges will be removed. The reason for the surcharges was to recover revenue lost because of less water use. We have a twenty-five year plan. We were going down that twenty-five year plan/road and the governor said, "No, you're going to take a hard right turn and reduce your use."

 WR  Why would that matter to the average rate paying Wildomartini?
 GM  We have issued dept, we have built projects,  et cetera, that have payments on them, based on a certain amount of revenues. When the governor said, in essence, you're going to reduce that by 25%, in our case 28%, as far as water use is concerned, we needed to maintain that revenue stream. The surcharge was to help maintain that. 

 WR  What does the removal of the drought surcharge mean, and NOT mean, to rate payers?
 GM  The drought surcharge was applied to every tier. Even our customers that are staying within their water budget; tier one and two. They were still getting penalized with that surcharge. That's being removed. It's a literal monetary savings.

 WR  How about the "What does it NOT mean?" part?
 GM  That was my point [during the board meeting], we're loosening the belt, so you can go back to some semblance of normal, but don't go hog wild. You shouldn't ever water down your driveway, you should always wash your car with an automatic shutoff [nozzle]. It's basic common sense. 

 WR  When does this go into effect?
 GM  Once the board votes on it, it'll be in effect June 1st. Customers won't see it until July 1st on their bill.

 WR  How about Drought Penalties?
 GM  Those are on people that still waste water above their water budget.  We have four tiers. One and two are your water budget, three and four are those that go outside their water budget.  

There still is a drought emergency declared by the governor, we have the ability to assign an additional dollar amount on top of that for tiers three and four.

 WR  When might the drought stage 3a drop?
 GM  (after a bit of hesitation) I'd need a crystal ball for that one. The governor said, "The drought has waned," but he also said, "the drought's not over," and Southern California did not get the rain that Northern California did. That's why he (Gov Brown) was very cautious in his announcement.

There are still restrictions on water use, just not as severe and now without the drought surcharges. Be looking for more information in your next bill.

A bit of welcomed news for homeowners in the Woodmoor area 

 WR  During the meeting, the Wildomar area called Woodmoor was mentioned, can you tell me about it?
 GM  It's a CFD and we had the ability to refinance it at a lower interest rate. Each property owner will see that savings on their property tax bill.

At this point Bob Hartwig, Assistant General Manager of Administrative Services, got the precise figures for me.

A savings of $388 per year per parcel.

•        •        •

Don't blame the mirror if you don't like the look on your face.
— Nikolai Gogol, 1809-1852

Wildomar Rap has been CFD free since its inception.


  1. The 27% increase should never have been added to begin with. Too bad they aren't taking off of all tiers. There is a reason the courts ruled against another water district for doing the exact same thing. We all understand budgets, it seems common sense that when users are asked to reduce usage revenue would fall. I never understood why the district took this out on customers.

    1. It's way too complicated for me to explain, but like you used to suggest to people that had certain views about the city, ask to speak to them directly and ask for an explanation. I'd suggest the same here. Either George Cambero, Andy Morris or EVMWD spokesman Greg Morrison.

      It's not that their answers will be all that comforting, but you'd get their rationale of why they put in the surcharges and why it would pass legal muster.

  2. I have spoken at length to George and I have heard the arguments for what they did, I just don't agree with the decision they arrived. Every bad decision made by anyone always seems like the "right" one while it is being made. I think this decision could have been avoided had EVMWD proactive in trying to reduce costs when obviously revenue was going to drop. That is Business 101. Add to that we still pay higher rates for our water than other cities in the valley and it leads to a lot of frustration with a service provider. It is nice to say it would withstand legal attacks but who knows? I am sure SJC thought the same thing.


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