Tag Archives: Chico sewer rate increase

Ask questions People! How many sewer rate increase notices did the city send out to people who will not be allowed to vote on the increase? How will this affect the voting process? Notices that are not returned as a protest are registered as a ‘yes’ vote – will they be counting the notices sent to people who can’t vote as ‘yes’ votes?

11 Dec

I had a lot of questions about my sewer rate increase notice, but it seems to me the most important issue is how these notices were distributed and how they will be counted. According to the Community Water Center, only those who receive and pay a sewer bill should have received these notices, and only those people are allowed to vote. Furthermore, notices that are not returned are counted as ‘yes’ votes.

If a property owner or tenant who pays a water bill directly does not submit a written protest, it is
counted as a vote in favor of the increase.
.. If a majority (50% +1) of property owners or tenants who pay a water bill directly within the service district submit written protests at the hearing, the provider cannot raise rates as proposed.

But I received a notice, and I’m not hooked up to sewer, so that led me to wonder – how many notices did they send to non-sewer customers, and will those notices be counted as ‘yes’ votes? I sent an inquiry to the clerk and my council rep earlier this week, and I didn’t get so much as a “received your email…” response. So I wrote a couple of my questions into a letter to the editor.

This whole conversation has been kept behind closed doors for several years now, as part of a further discussion to sell the sewer plant to Cal Water. They’re also discussing hooking Paradise up to our sewer system, which seems somewhat contradictory to claims that our sewer plant is reaching capacity. This rate increase was never part of the sales tax increase discussion, and now they’re trying to shove it through at Christmas?

Something stinks here alright. Wake up and smell the poo-poo Chico.

Merry Christmas – have you received your sewer rate increase notice? City of Chico wants to base your sewer charge on your water usage, at a rate of $1.22 per 100 cubic feet. You already paid $1.52+/ccf, and now the city of Chico wants another $1.22, whether it goes to the sewer or not.

That’s right, they want to double charge you, even for water that will not be processed at the sewer plant –¬†water used to irrigate trees, wash your car, fill your swimming pool or hot tub.

Here’s another problem – the notice system is flawed. The only people who will be allowed to vote on this rate increase are those who are actually receiving sewer service. Then why did I receive a notice when I’m not on sewer? In this process, any property owner noticed who does not return a written protest is counted as a ‘yes’ vote. So, how many notices were sent out to people who will not be allowed to turn in a protest vote? Will those folks be counted as ‘yes’ votes?

I believe the notifications should be resent, and the hearing should be postponed to a later date, giving staff time to answer our questions as required by Prop 218. This is not just a rate increase but a change to the structure of the charge, allowing the city or whomever owns the sewer plant to increase the rate annually without public approval.

Juanita Sumner, Chico CA

Chico Finance Committee will have an OPEN MEETING tomorrow – sewer rate increase, sales tax increase, CalPERS pension debt update

22 Feb

Wow – tomorrow the city of Chico is having an OPEN MEETING! I feel like I’m waking up from a bad dream. Just last week I sent a note to my district representative, Worthless Reynolds, asking her why she had agreed to chair a CLOSED Internal Affairs Commission meeting AFTER THE STATE MANDATE HAD BEEN DROPPED. She never got back to me.

So gee, it was a big surprise to get this agenda from the clerk.


And wow, here it is: “The agenda is also attached.¬† Please note this meeting is being held in person at the Council Chamber Building… ” I just about crapped myself with glee.

And just in time for some stuff that needs to be discussed with the public in attendance – a sewer rate analysis, a presentation from the consultant who is going to run the tax increase campaign, and a “CalPERS costs update”.

The sewer rate analysis is the beginning of a rate increase(s) for those of you on sewer. The city has been eeking up the sewer rates eversince Dan Nguyen-tan, Scott Gruendl, and Colleen Jarvis were on council. Staff complains they don’t get enough money to properly maintain the sewer – actually, the problem, according to people like former city council member Mark Sorensen, is that the sewer fund has been “dipped into” to pay salaries and pensions that don’t have anything to do with the sewer system. That’s called “allocation” – just type that, or “Chad Wolford”, into the search bar at the upper right of the blog and you’ll see I’ve written a lot about that here.

They’re going to tell us it’s because the sewer is over-whelmed – that is a lie. During the Paradise evacuation, they told us the sewer was running at less than half capacity, but still tried to say the evacuees were overwhelming it. Keep an eye on this conversation, it’s going to be full of shit.

Then we’ll hear from consultants Clifford Moss about their “PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY” regarding the sales tax increase measure. Meaning, the pitch they will give us to make us want to raise our own taxes. Please note – this is being done with $91,000 in taxpayer money. The irony is so rich it’s giving me the farts.

And then, the piece de resistance – finance department staffer Barbara Martin will give us the most recent “actuarial report released by CalPERS, the results of the recent Asset Liability Management (ALM) process CalPERS completed and steps that have been taken to manage costs.” This is important, because this is the reason for both the sewer rate and sales tax rate increases. Here’s the report from CalPERS. There are several videos here, if you really want to see why Chico is turning into a total shithole, watch this. There will be a quiz.