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Looking Back to 2007 Comments on Sewer Rates

BY DONNA WESTFALL

From the transcribed audio tapes dated September 26, 2007. A workshop was held at the Cultural Center in Crescent City  by the City Council and staff.

Ely Naffah, City Manager

“….they (developers) pay up front, the hook-up fee, which covers like about 17 years of the loan payment, and then they start paying the loan payment too, the $30 increase.

So basically new development will be taking care of itself, paying for itself. You’re only paying for your own current, existing use.  The plant will be able to handle some new growth, it will be small, but it will be handled, some new growth. You have to factor that in because we do have Walgreens that’s on the books that’s coming in.

We do have the Starbucks coming in. We have the old Square Deal building that’s being remodeled, they’re going to have some more users in there.  We have the old Ice Plant that’s on 101, they just put a Sheriff’s sale sign on that so I’m sure something’s going to be happening there in the future.

Naturally some of the vacant things you see along 101 and also in the downtown, we’re hoping that they will get filled up and taken care of.  So, again, just moderate growth as you can tell within the city. We don’t have that much room to grow anyway.

So, I just want you to be clear that there will be some growth but the way the rate structure is designed is that you’re paying your share and new growth will pay for it’s share. And it will be moderate growth.”

During public comment, Jeff McCaddon, local resident has this to say:

Since I came here in 1989 , I’ve noticed that Crescent City is pretty much a field of dreams.  If we build it they will come.  Most of it has been oriented toward the development of tourism and I’m still waiting.  They’re not coming.  I think we may be basically the same thing with this sewer plant expansion. I have a lot of figures that the money that’s going into the plant right now is just to serve the people here.  No it isn’t. The plant reconstruction cost includes a plant that will facilitate the treatment of future growth.  Our eyes are a little bigger than our bellies in this case.  We’re loading up our plate with something that we can’t even consume.

 Seriously.

What if the growth doesn’t come?  What if it’s 20, 30 years down the line? We’re burdening people that don’t have a huge amount of money to begin with.  All I have are old figures, but over 30% live below the poverty level or did live below the poverty level in 2000.  16.7% lived 50% below the poverty level and they’re the ones that are going to be carrying this burden.  Perhaps looking at a plant or reconfiguring the plant where it can be expanded later on.  I mean the actual plant reconstruction may be an option.  But we need to look at other options as it sits right now because I don’t think we can afford it.

 

During public comment, Eileen Cooper, local resident, had this to say.

“I feel like I woke up on a different planet today than when I was at a previous workshop. And at the previous workshop I was clearly told by Mr. Barnts that he had tried … they had tried very hard they couldn’t fulfill, … it would be too expensive to fill the growth rate that the state wanted. And Ernie Perry and Mr. Barnts were all happy that they had gotten down to accept the improvement for a 20 year plan of 3000.

And so, OK great, and Ernie Perry clearly stated that the number of new units onto this original plant is 58 to about 60 you could count on, 50 to 60 new units per year or so. I don’t know where you’re getting the 30 figure you know, and we were clearly told at that meeting that this plant y’know… where the growth rate really is for 500 so you take 50 for ten years, that’s 500 units we’re set for 10 years  at 500 new units.  But  that this was going to be a 20 year plan so that’s really an improvement for 1500, so, but because we’re not sure about industry coming in it that was best to have 3000 new units.

Now I wake up and all of a sudden those units are gone and you want us to believe that you’re fixing this plant for just what we have today. Then I went to a previous meeting and was told completely different facts.

And, all of a sudden, ‘we’re just fixing what we need to use today.’

 I don’t believe it. I don’t believe it for one minute. I was to one meeting where I was told one set of things and now I wake up and another meeting I’ve told another set of things.

All of a sudden the growth that was built into this improvement has disappeared. And why? Because you want to put all that growth on the backs of the ratepayers, that’s my guess.”

3 Responses to Looking Back to 2007 Comments on Sewer Rates

  1. Anonymous Reply

    August 20, 2015 at 11:38 pm

    I moved here in 2008 and my rates have doubled from $40 to nearly $90 and the increase is all sewer. Inquiries were made, but no response. Thank you for the complaint web site shown above, I will definitely be putting it to use.

  2. Kimberly Longman Reply

    February 9, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    Dumping raw sewage into the ocean.

  3. Anonymous Reply

    February 5, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    When I first lived here – in 1972 – there was “no law north of the Klamath”. At least that’s what people boasted. Since Pelican Bay opened in the late 1980s, the State and U.S. government now have a better look at the goings on in our little county. There are actually State agencies who would love to do something about the corruption up here, but the residents have to file complaints first. In this case, the California Public Utilities would be the people to write to. You can even file complaints online at If enough people did this, imagine all the change that might happen. I, personally, have never paid more than $20 a month for my water/sewer bill in other localities (inside and outside of California).
    If you’ve done that and would like to do more, there is the California Attorney General. You can file complaints here: http://oag.ca.gov/contact/consumer-complaint-against-business-or-company. These complaints do not fall on deaf ears. The State already knows there’s problems up here, but their hands are tied unless people file complaints. There are also elected State and Federal elected officials that can be contacted as well. The less you deal with the city and county officials here, the more anonymous you are, the harder it will be for them to retaliate.

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