City council makes last minute agenda change, announces Cal Water presentation tonight

6 Oct

Added to the council agenda late yesterday, Cal Water is scheduled to make a “presentation” before tonight’s regular council meeting.

I have been asking Mayor Mark Sorensen to become an “Intervenor” and formally protest this rate hike. He has not responded to me in any way, but announced at a previous meeting he wanted to bring Cal Water in.  I’ve watched the agendas eversince, and when I checked the agenda that was mailed to me last week for tonight’s meeting, there was nothing about Cal Water.

Last night after I heard it on the news, I checked again – still nothing. My Third District Supervisor Maureen Kirk e-mailed me to say she’d seen the news bit but had also checked the agenda and found nothing.

Oh, but now it’s suddenly on the agenda. The miracle of computers, eh?

It’s scheduled for the first part of the meeting, under “Presentations.” When I received the agenda last week, North Valley Ag was the only business listed there.

I know – it really doesn’t matter. I’m not planning to attend. I sent a list of questions to Mark Sorensen and Sean Morgan:

I see the Cal Water presentation has been added to the agenda – it was not on the agenda I received last week, I looked for it.  I heard it on the news last night that Cal Water would be making this presentation.  Thanks for keeping me in the loop (sarcasm alert). 

 

I don’t know if the public will be allowed to ask questions, but looking at their presentation I see there’s nothing about employee expenses, pension liability, or how much employees pay toward their own  benefits and pension.

 

I hope one  or all of you will ask these questions. And, I’d also like to know – why hasn’t the infrastructure been maintained? Why all these repairs now? What projects do they have to show for the last three consecutive rate increases we’ve received over the last 5 years? One notice listed $384,000 for pensions, and only $164,000 for infrastructure. I still have that notice.

Thank you for your due diligence to this matter, Juanita Sumner

I’m going to hold my breath until after the meeting. The Marysville City Council also invited Cal Water in for a “presentation.” They listened politely, asked a few pointy questions, and then voted unanimously to become an “Intervenor” and formally protest the proposal. 

Maureen Kirk has got “party” status, meaning, CPUC sends her updates of what is happening with our case. I’ve asked and asked for the county to become an Intervenor, Maureen has told me she’s going to check again with county counsel Bruce Alpert to see if that’s happening. 

Imagine my surprise when I read this on the Marysville For Reasonable Water Rates:

Interestingly, Butte County is also seeking party status. It filed its motion in late August.

“With or without consolidation, the proposed rate increases would impose a significant burden on the county, as a customer of Cal Water. Further, the rate increases would affect an undue hardship on county residents in the Chico and Oroville districts, as many Cal Water customers in these areas are of limited means,” Butte County’s county counsel wrote. “The average income in the affected county areas is low to moderate, with many customers on fixed incomes and/or government assistance. Economic development in these areas is slow to regain footing, as the economy is slow to recover.”

Wow! That was hard-hitting stuff.

But there was more.

“The county, as a Cal Water customer and on behalf of its residents residing in the Chico and Oroville districts, has an interest in opposing consolidation and minimizing the proposed rate increases in the above-captioned application based on the direct burden to the county and the hardship of the affected county residents,” the county’s filing said.

Wow again!!

Butte County isn’t taking any guff from Cal Water. The gloves are off.

Well, that’s nice of the MFRWR to say, but I’m very disappointed that Butte County did not use Bruce Alpert’s very expensive time to pursue Intervenor status. 

I’m disappointed in myself somewhat, I wish I could muster up the motivation to file for at least party status, write up some sort of protest – but here’s the thing. I don’t like standing up like that, with nothing but a cold breeze blowing up the back of my skivvies.

We’ll have to see what our council decides to do.

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