There was a hearing about the water rate increase in Pine Cove last Wednesday. I did not go because I went to the website for the water district and I attended meetings of the Pine Cove Property Owners Association where information on the subject was presented for several consecutive months.
PCWD has earned awards for its transparency so I looked up the information. With the information I found, I decided that the rate increase was indeed justified.
I learned that PCWD has had to rely on the rents from the cell towers on Rocky Point to keep the water rates lower than the cost of water production. I learned that the rates have not kept up with expenses generated by improvement of water lines, installation of 10 new advanced “steamer” fire hydrants, training for employees, lining of the storage tanks and a CalPERS foul-up of retirement investment.
I learned that the water lines are put in by employees of the district at a third of the cost of contracting this work to outside contractors. I learned that a tractor that has put in 30 hard years of digging holes and trenches is close to the end of its usefulness and would be replaced. I learned a lot of information readily available to anyone who looks.
I do not think the board members and manager of the PCWD should be yelled at by folk who have not done their homework. They have not availed themselves of the easily available information, refuse to come to a Saturday PCPOA meeting where all of this information is presented month after month and then complain about how a regularly scheduled meeting during the week is inconvenient, but find a way to attend anyway.
All of this information was out there: mailed to our homes with a form to use for objections, on the PCWD website and presented at PCPOA meetings month after month.
The manager of PCWD and the board of directors work hard at trying to keep the rates low — the water good and flowing well. To come to a public hearing, where the directors are there to hear folk make intelligent comments for their consideration, and then yell demands for information they should already have is embarrassing.