BY JOHN STETSON
I’ve always been good with numbers. I didn’t realize how good I was until I went to college under the GI bill. I got out of the service in the 1970’s and couldn’t find a job in the States, so I went back to Germany and was able to get a job within 2 hours. During my tour of duty I studied German and became fluent. I worked in Germany for a couple of years for airlines and then was transferred to California, to open a West Coast operations for a chartered airline carrier.
We did quite well until the Civil Aeronautics Board decided to permit scheduled carriers to compete with charters. That commenced the demise of the charter airline industry. I needed to make a career change, and I had become a single parent by then. I became employed in the computer operations industry. I also went back to college and was very fortunate that the Army had matured me quite a bit. I earned an associates degree (AA) in data processing with honors.
In 1977, I determined that real estate was the best financial option to make money. Real estate is all about numbers. My wife and I purchased our first house. From that point on I was fortunate several times in my employment to get a “golden parachute” which I then invested in more real estate. That was my retirement fund and it served me well.
In 1982 I was accepted as a walk-in candidate at USC, but decided instead to go to Cal Poly, Pomona to obtain a bachelors degree in their Tri- Major of finance/real estate/business law. I was also working full time, employed in the computer business and was promoted to Quality Assurance manager of the Information Technology Department of a major bank.
In 1989, we developed an intranet (before the INTERNET) to assure that any software implemented for the bank had to work perfectly. My staff had the task to prove the software would function properly. If it contained any error(s), management determined it would not be implemented. We developed a concept which we referred to as; “a lack of planning on your part does not warrant an emergency on my part.”
Here in Crescent City there is a huge lack of planning on the part of government/officials if you will, who think that we their public should respond as in an emergency. They have been working on these rate increases for months, but the public has only 45 days.
WHY $98.95/MONTH WATER/SEWER BILL
I took the figures published by the ad placed by the City in the Del Norte Triplicate and by the Notice of Hearing that the City mailed out. From that data I could see that a real issue was not the water rate alone, but more importantly the city’s total taxation of it’s customers.
Let’s start with this month, October 2013 = $84.20.
If you look at the ad comparing various cities; Crescent City is third from the bottom in water and sewer combined.
Now let’s go to what happens if the Prop 218 protest fails. On December 5, 2013, the rate increases to $90.36.
In July 2014, the combined rate goes to $94.05, then the following July 2015 it raises again to $97.49. Following July 2016 it raises again to $98.21 and finally, the last raise in July 2017, brings us up to $98.95.
This then makes Crescent City the fourth most expensive for these services based on the comparison sheet to other cities.
LET’S TALK ABOUT DECEPTION
I was shocked at the city’s advertisement which I found deceptive because it only dealt with one of the five increases scheduled for the cities customers. The city’s numbers prove that the water rate will double in about 18 months. These 5 rate increases when added to $84 current charge is how we get to nearly $100 figure per month (and actually will be over $100/month for Bertsch Tract customers.)
Additionally, I understand the City is hiring the same contractor, Willdan, to advise on the next round of sewer rate increases. The deception got me frustrated and that’s why we got into publication of the facts.