Editor:

I am not an accountant. I do not speak their language. Trying to understand more, I turned to Google and YouTube. Do some research for yourself and perhaps you will feel as I do.

Our local water districts are governmental agencies and as such, are required to follow rules and regulations that private business do not, such as the Brown Act.

I requested a copy of the Pine Cove Water District’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and was told the information could be found on its website. What is provided there is the 2017 Annual Audit and not the CAFR, as required by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board. I could not find any mention of a CAFR. However, I did find mention of a report dated Sept. 29, 2017, from its accounting firm, which has not been added to the website.

The increases we will see will far outweigh the yearly inflation rate and actual operating costs. Looking at the pie chart on PCWD’s website. you will find the following:

• 53% of PCWD’s operating expenses are Administrative and General

• 15% Transmission and Distribution

• 1% Water Treatment

• 5% Source of Supply

• 8% pumping

• 18% Depreciation

What jumps out at you? In my opinion Administrative and General costs are way out of line, but as I said, I am not an accountant.

I am not happy with subsidizing area business and other entities with lower rates. If anyone deserves subsidizing, it should be those on low and/or fixed incomes.

Why must I pay more for my water, propane, electricity, etc., than a business? Why am I paying for someone to operate a business I have no interest in?

If we all paid equally for our usage, there would not be a need for anyone to pay more at this time.

Soon, those of you in Fern Valley and Idyllwild Water districts will be paying more as well.

Google or Youtube “CAFR” “Rim of the World School District” as a start.

Creative financing amazes and worries me. I need more than someone telling me to trust them and their accountants.

M.J. Mitchell

Pine Cove

  (Editor’s note:  The TC has been unable to verify that the Governmental Accounting Standards Board requires that Pine Cove Water District produce or publish a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, as this letter states. As always, the views of our columnists and letter writers are not necessarily the views of the Town Crier editors. The Town Crier welcomes views from all writers, including those in letters to the editor.)

1 COMMENT

  1. To all activist Wanna Bees on this hill. You can’t complain from a position of ignorance just because you don’t think you should pay more on your water bill. It takes dozens of hours securing records through records requests, dozens of hours interpreting them, dozens of hours discussing the data with objective third parties, and then and only then deciding what to do. That’s when the real work starts. What you do requires accurate information and a way to prosecute an outcome. The quickest way is through the power of influence of local boards. Sugar is better than venom and doesn’t require as much data. However, if you take the venom approach don’t expect local cooperation and you better have your facts straight because they will come after you if they see falsehoods in your arguments. The California Board of Accountancy, California Bar Association, Riverside County Grand Jury, and others will not take you seriously if you show up to complain using tainted facts.

    I for one have argued before these boards for accurate rate structures that’s equitable and protects my property value under 218 by ensuring the districts properly maintain infrastructure and accurately charge customers and property owners. The folks who demand that rates don’t go up are way behind the curve. The districts have more than met their legal obligations to raise rates in compliance with 218. In fact they have had outrageous pressure to raise them. Each district has spent many thousands of dollars on attorneys, engineering firms and consultants who back their findings and recommendations with powerful affirmations, specifically they’re willingness to certify in a courtroom 218 compliance. That means these districts without substantiated criticism of their newly adopted rates can aggressively defend them. Take unjustified action or initiate malicious unfounded criticism and you just might find yourself at the end of a cease and desist or cost recovery action. To all those Wanna Be activists I invite you to the party but you will get no sympathy or support from me because you Wanna play at board meetings without doing the hard investigation work which might prove results against your wasted play time.

    You should know Idyllwild Fire Protection District forgot to do their mandated annual audit for years because they knew no one was looking. It led to two grand jury inquiries that went after IFPD and the Riverside County Auditor who was required to oversee their audit. But it took many hundreds of hours to get down that road with accurate facts and to prosecute the matter correctly. Idyllwild Water has flushed down the toilet hundreds of thousands of dollars. Their former counsel is under criminal indictment for embezzlement of tax dollars in an adjacent jurisdiction. Not one person on this mountain finds these facts interesting or disturbing based upon the record of public comment likely out of ignorance or selfishness.

    As for Pine Cove Water District they have the best water quality, most steamer hydrants, most replaced pipe, best drought tolerant wells, and backing of the Riverside County Grand Jury on efficiency and fiscal austerity cited as being one of the most efficient and financially accountable water districts in Riverside County. They are also recognized as a transparency leader in the state by the California Special Districts Leadership Foundation. This district maintains an excellent audit rating from each of their audits, and has the support of their customers and property owners. This didn’t happen overnight and certainly isn’t superficial. Many hundreds of hours went into this from employees, board members, oversight agencies, and yes property owners and customers.

    Kindly become properly informed or sit down and shut up.

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