Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Tonight's City Council: Water Rates Are Going Up? Again?

I suppose we need to come up with a name for it. The cycle that Sierra Madre's city government seems to be constantly (and consistently) involved in. One year it is raising taxes, and the next year it's water rates. One or the other, either of these two items seem to always be on the City Council's plate, and always on the agenda. Last April a UUT increase was put into place, and now, just like clockwork, water rate increases are again back under consideration. The never ending Sierra Madre Water Rate/Tax Increase Recycler. Your very best of friends for life it seems, the ones who are always coming up with interesting ways to ask you for more money.

Here is how this year's new and up-to-date version of the Ever Present Sierra Madre Water Rate Increase Recycler is kicking off (link).

Did you notice? The last water rate increases haven't even played out yet, and now new ones are about to be dropped right on top. Water rate increases on top of water rate increases. Stacked up like jumbo jets waiting to land at LAX. As far as the eye can see.

Of course, there are the reasons. There always are. No true water rate or tax increase can be conducted without it being properly marketed to the intended victims. That, of course, being the 11,000 or so people who live in Sierra Madre. The long-suffering customers of this badly rundown (and still dangerously dilapidated despite all of those previous rate hike infrastructure promises) municipal water company.

Whatever. I think you get the picture. Soon they will hire a $50,000 or so consultant, probably the same guys that screwed it all up the last two times. Then the City Council will sit in awe and wonder as the consultant shows them complicated charts and mind-numbing presentations that will claim to predict - and with Rasputin-like prophetic accuracy - the proper water rate revenue streams now and for all future times to come. Just like they did the last time. Except they were obviously wrong.

Then, in order to build a community consensus (or, more precisely, the appearance of one since most people don't have even the first clue about any of this) you will be told what you need to think at various public outreach forums. Tied, tried and justified.

Once that final box is checked off, all of this will be followed by a unanimous vote of approval by the City Council. Who will then thank everyone for their support and understanding, and with the utmost sincerity and humility, of course.

How much more do we even need to talk about this tiresome nonsense? It's not like folks haven't seen it all before. What is this, the fourth time in the last ten years? That same old song and dance, played out with basically the same people that rattle and hummed it last time? I'm sure you get the picture.

Tonight's City Council meeting kicks off at around 6:30. Click here for the YouTube live stream.



  1. So is the drought over yet?

  2. It doesn't make any difference if the drought is over or not. The usage allotment, rates, and fines were passed without a sunset clause. Why? Because they will always need a CASH COW for calIPERS. The Water Department has been the Golden Calf that keeps on giving. Or should I say TAKING (from the taxpayer that is)?

  3. Yes, but money has dried up. They have a million dollar egg to crack each year for the water bond debt that they are paying interest only and at the end of the one will become indebted again with another water bond, interest only, to cover that one. Drought over, money woes aren't.

  4. If the drought were over and Sierra Madre's aquifers were once again adequate to supply the needs of this town, we would no longer need to pay the SGVMWD the high rates for their water. Wouldn't that take some of the pressure off?

    1. Is there a contract with the SGVMWD? How long?

    2. I thought this was an emergency measure only, and that we have the right to end it when we want to.

  5. I wish City Hall would just level with us.

    1. I think they're afraid.

    2. I wonder why.

  6. City Hall cant even answer a phone call, how can we expect any clear and real problem solving to happen from a city council that likes to hear it's own voice.

  7. CalPERS has ruined most cities in California, and Jerry Brown has spear headed the quotas and restrictions. Our city council likes to throw money at problems, always studies, used to be consultants.
    The 218 process wont pass, so city hall will vote to pass property taxes being raised. Somthing they have wanted to do for some time.

    1. First the water rate hike. Then parcel taxes.

    2. 8:00 am, I'm guessing that you did NOT work on the last 218 campaign. It doesn't go to an election vote. The city sends the water resident an agree or opposed card for the new rate. The resident mails the card back to City Hall. If it is not mailed back, the City assumes it is a YES/agree to the rate increase. The City also tallies and records all cards sent back to City Hall. No check and balance there! It's easy for the 218 to pass. $$$$$

  8. Best council majority we've had in many years, but they inherited a water department that Bruce Inman had been in charge of. Good luck to us all.

  9. So when do the medicinal marijuana shops start opening?

  10. Sierra Madre is just a very small part of this country's financial death spiral.

    Federal Debt Projected to Grow by $8.6 Trillion Over Next Decade

  11. Are churches and businesses except from the water tax?

    If so get them to chip in

  12. The history and records of water usages and information on bonds and spending patterns are on past city council minutes and recordings, the Library was given charge to hold the information. Has anyone else asked for transparency?

    1. By hold you mean store for public access, or put under lock and key?

  13. Best do nothing Council we have had in years. Anyone can talk for an hour on a subject and then decide the answer is more money.

  14. Churches are non-profit, they dont pay property taxes, but in this town the real estate holdings eat into the tax base. Businesses are not being charged the same water rate, if the council we're to change that more restaurants may close. How many shops in the downtown area are vacant? Maybe the 420 supporters are on to something. Easier to change town codes about marijuana then it is to cut spending.

    1. 420 vs. H20? Wtf rofl

  15. Now we know why so many Fire Department, Police Department and City of Sierra Madre Management built up their CalPERS and abandoned ship; we're sinking, and without water!

  16. The City of Sierra Madre needs a "Come to Jesus" moment. Complete transparency, let everything hang out. A truly special meeting should take place. I think if the people of this town were told how bad things are, and in no uncertain terms, they would be willing to do what it takes to save it. But the constant raising of the costs of everything is not wearing well. The reasons are no longer believable. People are beginning to wonder what is really going on.

  17. In the last months I have read nothing but Trump bashing on this site. I believe these are the same people who rarely if ever go to a CC meeting. These are the same people who pushed theUUT. They don't realize they live in a swamp they helped cause. Can't you blame Trump for the woes of Sierra Madre?

    1. The only person who has mentioned this here is you. What is your point? That Trump is on the City Council?

    2. Trumpies are endlessly confused.

    3. Wow, have you missed the boat, 10:27. One of the very best things about our town is that people from all political perspectives come together to participate in preserving Sierra Madre.

    4. Contrived controversy. No one is buying what you're trying to sell

    5. Like Trump, random things that popped into your mind became your beliefs, which, since they're your beliefs, are now truth. You may now report to your leader that you are one with him.

  18. If the city council raises water rates, we will be raising rents $$$

  19. Of course rents will go up! The trickle down effect of Obama continues to loom over towns as "pet" projects were awarded to "acquaintances ".

    1. 10:27 says it's all Trump's fault. You say Obama is responsible for what is going on in Sierra Madre. I think both of you lack much understanding for what is actually going on here.

    2. Stop hurting his feelings!January 24, 2017 at 11:26 AM

      White House Insiders Say Donald Trump Is "Demoralized" That No One Thinks He's a Real President

    3. Disagree. In order to be demoralized, one must first have morals.

    4. I think he has just got a pouty on.

  20. No confusion with Trumpies. Poor decisions made on behalf of the elites in Sierra Madre have added to the money grab.
    Sit back and listen, get ideas and work together, is the new process in D.C.
    New management coming into town might have a voice of their own, not just shuffling papers and increasing spending.

    1. Elites? In Sierra Madre? Where?

    2. Git the shootin' iron, Paw! There's elites out there!

    3. Work together is not the new process in DC

      Nice try trump guy jr.

    4. New Management? A voice of the their own? You've gotta be kidding! Mr G. E. Will be a fast tracked Agenda 21/20-30 man who will continue to promote the same agenda that Elaine did. They were not looking for a candidate who would save money , they wanted a candidate who would continue the same agenda as Elaine.

    5. 11:31, mind your language. Threats against the president are taken seriously.

    6. 7:56 - Trump is not an elite. He is a bottom feeder.

  21. What us actually going on here is that Sierra Madre has run out of money.
    One must have a good sense of humor so that all the crying wont hurt as much.

    1. Years of kicking the can down the road has given Sierra Madre a broken leg.

  22. It appears that if City Hall is talking, City Hall is lying. Maybe distorting the facts is better wording, no wait, they have different facts. Go figure your water billing since March 1, 2014 and look at that billing, eyes wide open please.

    1. City Hall was into "alternative facts" before it was cool.

  23. I am tired of hearing the same song from city hall. More money, we need more money, money money money, we need more money, more money, we need more money, money money money, we need more money. Yes, that is getting very old. We have that big professor as mayor and a lawyer on council also, when are they going to do something about these money problems? Now we have a bigger salaried manager that we sure hope has some ideas other than raise taxes.

    1. The professor and lawyer were reelected by you and the others. You get what you wanted from them.

    2. Not my council members ..


  24. Please tax me more,

    #1 Air Transportation Taxes (just look at how much you were charged the last time you flew)
    #2 Biodiesel Fuel Taxes
    #3 Building Permit Taxes
    #4 Business Registration Fees
    #5 Capital Gains Taxes
    #6 Cigarette Taxes
    #7 Court Fines (indirect taxes)
    #8 Disposal Fees
    #9 Dog License Taxes
    #10 Drivers License Fees (another form of taxation)
    #11 Employer Health Insurance Mandate Tax
    #12 Employer Medicare Taxes
    #13 Employer Social Security Taxes
    #14 Environmental Fees
    #15 Estate Taxes
    #16 Excise Taxes On Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans
    #17 Federal Corporate Taxes
    #18 Federal Income Taxes
    #19 Federal Unemployment Taxes
    #20 Fishing License Taxes
    #21 Flush Taxes (yes, this actually exists in some areas)
    #22 Food And Beverage License Fees
    #23 Franchise Business Taxes
    #24 Garbage Taxes
    #25 Gasoline Taxes
    #26 Gift Taxes
    #27 Gun Ownership Permits
    #28 Hazardous Material Disposal Fees
    #29 Highway Access Fees
    #30 Hotel Taxes (these are becoming quite large in some areas)
    #31 Hunting License Taxes
    #32 Import Taxes
    #33 Individual Health Insurance Mandate Taxes
    #34 Inheritance Taxes
    #35 Insect Control Hazardous Materials Licenses
    #36 Inspection Fees
    #37 Insurance Premium Taxes
    #38 Interstate User Diesel Fuel Taxes
    #39 Inventory Taxes
    #40 IRA Early Withdrawal Taxes
    #41 IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)
    #42 IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
    #43 Library Taxes
    #44 License Plate Fees
    #45 Liquor Taxes
    #46 Local Corporate Taxes
    #47 Local Income Taxes
    #48 Local School Taxes
    #49 Local Unemployment Taxes
    #50 Luxury Taxes
    #51 Marriage License Taxes
    #52 Medicare Taxes
    #53 Medicare Tax Surcharge On High Earning Americans Under Obamacare
    #54 Obamacare Individual Mandate Excise Tax (if you don’t buy “qualifying” health insurance under Obamacare you will have to pay an additional tax)
    #55 Obamacare Surtax On Investment Income (a new 3.8% surtax on investment income)
    #56 Parking Meters
    #57 Passport Fees
    #58 Professional Licenses And Fees (another form of taxation)
    #59 Property Taxes
    #60 Real Estate Taxes
    #61 Recreational Vehicle Taxes
    #62 Registration Fees For New Businesses
    #63 Toll Booth Taxes
    #64 Sales Taxes
    #65 Self-Employment Taxes
    #66 Sewer & Water Taxes
    #67 School Taxes
    #68 Septic Permit Taxes
    #69 Service Charge Taxes
    #70 Social Security Taxes
    #71 Special Assessments For Road Repairs Or Construction
    #72 Sports Stadium Taxes
    #73 State Corporate Taxes
    #74 State Income Taxes
    #75 State Park Entrance Fees
    #76 State Unemployment Taxes (SUTA)
    #77 Tanning Taxes (a new Obamacare tax on tanning services)
    #78 Telephone 911 Service Taxes
    #79 Telephone Federal Excise Taxes
    #80 Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Taxes
    #81 Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Taxes
    #82 Telephone State And Local Taxes
    #83 Telephone Universal Access Taxes
    #84 The Alternative Minimum Tax
    #85 Tire Recycling Fees
    #86 Tire Taxes
    #87 Tolls (another form of taxation)
    #88 Traffic Fines (indirect taxation)
    #89 Use Taxes (Out of state purchases, etc.)
    #90 Utility Taxes
    #91 Vehicle Registration Taxes
    #92 Waste Management Taxes
    #93 Water Rights Fees
    #94 Watercraft Registration & Licensing Fees
    #95 Well Permit Fees
    #96 Workers Compensation Taxes
    #97 Zoning Permit Fees
    #98 User Utility Tax
    #99 Gutter Tax
    #100 .... Weed Tax

    1. Maybe you should consider moving to a red state where haters of taxes, worker safety laws, and fair wage laws are happy to take in more federal tax dollars than they pay and gladly use what taxes they do pay and steal from blue states to build stadiums and infrastructure improvements for billionaire sports team owners and to otherwise subsidize big business.

    2. Anybody hearing an echo?

  25. The process has alwaysthe been to work together as Americans in D.C.
    What you have now with the Senators that did not attend the Presidential Inauguration are the reasons Hillary Clinton lost. The public has grow weary of Politicians working against them.
    Trumps background is non political he has a business background and that is why he won the hearts of the American public and their votes.
    ps get over the "numbers" argument and get on with Making America Great.

    1. Trump lost by 3 million votes. He is still whining about it. He should grab himself because he's such a pussy.

    2. Over the years I have asked the Mod to delete comments now and then, that use language that is iffy in the public realm. Before Trump, I would have asked him to delete 5:34, but Trump has made that reference to female genitalia so common, it's pointless to try and avoid it.

  26. Wake up, folks.

    We will soon have to pay a much higher price, regardless of how high the taxes in Sierra Madre will be.

    1. Sierra Madre Water Co. prices are not that out of line with what the privately owned water companies charge.

    2. "Higher price" depends on your view of life after death I would think. Along that thought process, what ever happened to Sierra Madre's natural aquifer?

    3. A friend who works for Arcadia Public works said last year Arcadia mistakenly sucked a Sierra Madre aquifer dry. I don't know all the details but maybe someone here can shed some light on it?

  27. Bravo to the Planning Commission for the group home modifications and protections. And good on the Council for seeing what great work they did.
    Now if we could just get busy on the businesses that have 6 beds or less, and can set up anywhere at all in town...

  28. Trump suspends all EPA contracts. Gag orders to EPA employee and other agencies.

    Next up: Putin orders Trump to invoke Martial Law.

  29. The City Council cannot congratulate themselves enough on this city manager choice. The back patting is deafening.