Why did the city give $8 million from the sewer fund to PG&E? New thermostats for city hall? Again?

16 Jan

Tomorrow night the city of Chico will hold a hearing regarding their proposed sewer tax. Make no mistake – this is a tax, but it’s legal now because the city owns the sewer plant. One thing that really bothers me about this “rate change”, is that when they sell the plant to Cal Water – and you can check the agendas for yourself, they’ve been talking about it – Cal Water will no longer have to notice us for annual rate hikes.

Not to mention, the city is going to be charging us for water we already paid for, including water that never enters the sewer system. All because they can’t handle money Downtown. Here’s a good example I found in the 22-23 budget – out of an $11 million sewer fund, they gave PG&E “$8,487,515 to Project 50522 PG&E SST Phase 2… to reduce the costs of energy usage at City facilities and to help meet Climate Action Plan goals.”


Sure, one of those facilities is the sewer plant, where PG&E made some upgrades, but new thermostats at City Hall? How does that pencil out of the sewer budget? Cause that’s how they spend money Downtown. Sure they have enough money in the sewer budget to make (more) upgrades at City Hall, or should we call it, “Taj Mahal”? But they need a sewer tax, and a sales tax, and they need the Utility Tax AND franchise fees on PG&E, Comcast and Waste Management?

As I said in my last post, those franchise fees, particularly the trash tax, are all under question as of a Supreme Court decision made about six months ago in the case of Zolly vs the City of Oakland. Laura Dougherty of Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association suggests we inform our city of that decision, hoping we won’t have to sue, as did ratepayers in Oakland. But, she gave me a list of attorneys, I’ll be keeping that in my side pocket.

Something my dad told me when my brother went in the Navy – nobody is going to stick up for you, you have to learn to stick up for yourself. I’ll give you that same advice. And I’ll borrow a quote from actor/voice artist/radio ham Harry Shearer – if you’re looking for honesty and truth in government you’re looking for apples in the cheese section.

If you haven’t turned in your sewer rate protest already please do it either today or tomorrow at the city building. Don’t forget your parcel number – I did, and now I have to go Downtown to fix it. But, like my dad told me, nobody is going to do that for me. I just hope I don’t step in bum shit or get hit by a drunk walking by Duffy’s.

Next time let’s compare Chico to the state of California – both make too many spending decisions based on ideology – their own – instead of pragmatic solutions for the tax and ratepayers.

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