Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The California Drought Is Over - So Why Is Sierra Madre Still Levying Huge Water Fines?

Mod: Water fines. Is the City of Sierra Madre still going to continue with its outrageous water fines?If you go over your allotment in Tier 1, the charge goes from $2.58 a unit to $10.72 a unit. That is a huge increase, right? How can that be acceptable when the water situation in California has changed as positively as it has? Can any of this still be justified? I don't think so. Please read on.

Sierra snowpack bigger than last four years combined, says NASA (CNBC link): California's snowpack level is near a record high. New data from NASA show that this past winter's snowpack levels in California's Tuolumne River Basin, located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, are higher than they were in the last four years combined.

Melting snow along the Tuolomne is an important source of water for both California's Central Valley — the heart of California's agricultural sector, and the crowded San Francisco area.

On April 1, NASA's Airborne Snow Observatory measured the Tuolumne Basin snowpack at 1.2 million acre-feet, which NASA says is enough snow to fill the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, nearly 1,600 times. The snowpack is twice the volume of last year's, and 21 times larger than 2015's level, which was the lowest on record.

NASA's ASO is the only program that measures snow water equivalent, which is what it sounds like: the amount of water present in a measurement of snow. NASA found that combining April 1 snowpack measurements from 2013 through 2016 yielded 92 percent of the snow observed just this year.

In much of the Central Sierra, snow lies 25 feet deep (8 meters). In some high mountain basins, it's deeper than 80 feet (24 meters). And since April 1, it has continued to snow.

Mod: There is also this.

Gov. Brown declares California drought emergency is over (Los Angeles Times link): Startlingly green hills, surging rivers and the snow-wrapped Sierra Nevada had already signaled what Gov. Jerry Brown made official Friday: The long California drought is over.

Brown issued an executive order that lifts the drought emergency in all but a handful of San Joaquin Valley counties where some communities are still coping with dried-up wells.

Mod: So why is the City of Sierra Madre still fining its citizens at such spectacularly high levels? Is it really just all about the money? All that debt?

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

87 comments:

  1. It's all about how much money the City can get out of the tax payers. There going to milk this cow all the way to the slaughter house.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. we need a dispensary downtown says new city manager

      Delete
  2. I thought the fines were put in place so that Sierra Madre could hit its state mandated water use reduction number and avoid financial penalties. Since the state no longer has mandatory water reduction numbers in place, shouldn't these fines go away?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I watched the Council Meeting when someone at the podium requested that the Council put a sunset clause on the "fines" and penalties clause when it was being discussed and voted upon. The Council said no, not necessary. These fines have been by design from their inception. The City has no intention of making the fines disappear.

      Delete
  3. Who has been levied a huge fine lately?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are plenty of people who have paid more than they should - bad meter readings, miscalculations, and yes, sometimes errors on the customers part with an undetected leak, or some careless house guests. But a 400% increase as punishment?

      Delete
    2. But has anyone been fined lately since the replenishment?

      Delete
    3. I was sent a warning stating that I had watered during a non allotted time. Photos were enclosed showing water in the driveway (time-dated and stamped). I had to laugh as it wasn't even my home! Water police efficiency! lol

      Delete
    4. I am really certain that the methodology the city uses to determine excess usage wouldn't stand up in court. They started by determining how much water you used during each "billing season" during a baseline year. But, they then averaged that over the three billing periods of that "season" and set your target to that average for EACH of the billing periods.

      The target should be based on the same period of time used during the baseline year. In other words, at the end of each of the three-bill "seasons" your usage is either more or less than the percentage reduction from that same six months of the baseline year; NOT a bill by bill average.

      I'd like to see someone who has been penalized look at their usage for the entire season during which the penalty was assessed and if the usage for the whole season met the reduction from that whole season in the baseline year then take the city to small claims court. Or, if you were penalized during the first or second billing during a "season", no need to wait for the end of the season...hit back as soon as the penalty is assesed. Some pogue from city hall would have to present the city's case since no lawyers are allowed in small claims court. I'm sure the city would lose. And, that may bring with it an order from the court to go back and re-examine all accounts that were penalized and refund where necessary.

      Delete
  4. It's quite simple. Our wells are still very low and we're still importing water.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How low are the wells? Has the city issued any figures lately?

      Delete
    2. there is a giant sign on the corner of baldwin and sierra madre blvd

      Delete
    3. The city does not put out much of any information these days. There is very little transparency now.

      Delete
    4. Or go to City Council meetings, watch rge on TV, or ask for the chart at City Hall, as well as looking at the chart in the middle of town.

      Delete
    5. I no longer trust the City. I'm a doubting Thomas. I'd have to see the wells to believe it. The Water Dept is the City's CASH COW,

      Delete
  5. and we need to train our stupid selves.. if we all think the drought is really OVER, we're stoopid. The odds are not good the future rainfall will be at historical average levels; what does that mean? That in 2 years we'll be right back in a severe drought situation. SO, don't just start getting all loosey-goosey about water just because we had one good year. WHy is that so hard to understand??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What do you base these odds on?

      Delete
    2. My yard and my neighbors' yards are dead. Is that what you mean by looser-goosey?
      Not everyone has enough disposable income to rip out everything old and put in a desert xeriscape.

      Delete
    3. and some Californians want to the state to be it's own country? what they gonna do declare war on Colorado for water?

      Delete
  6. If there is still a water shortage in Sierra Madre, which makes it one of the very few cities in the state that still has one, is it the fault of a drought that is now over? Or can it be because we have a dilapidated old system that was run into the ground over the years by a city government that shirked its responsibilities to the people of Sierra Madre?

    ReplyDelete
  7. We are still in drought. It is because the aquifers are not replenished yet,maybe in a few months it will be better with continued conservation

    http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Home/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?CA

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Much of Sierra Madre's water now comes from areas outside of the drought area.

      Delete
    2. Nice deduction Sherlock.

      Delete
    3. It was far more than what you have contributed today.

      Delete
    4. Sorry didn't know it was a contest.

      Delete
    5. It was. And your sourcasm has made you the loser.

      Delete
  8. 6:48, you have pointed out the real problem. For years the city of SM has taken $ out of the water department but have not spent it on the aging system. We are now paying for these past actions and poor decisions on money spent with cost increases that will not be reduced. When some individual council members were asked about this the general answer was that we were not going to cure the problem today by bringing up the past. I always thought we learned from our mistakes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. if you recall that was the lie that was the start of Measure V and those same Councilmembers meddle in the city with their "wisdom"

      Delete
  9. If the water fines go, so does the moratorium on new water meters. Be careful what you wish for.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There can still be a drought without the water fines.

      Delete
    2. How about some reasonable fines, instead of the gouging that is in place now. Also, remember that the people who have been conserving the most the longest are the ones who get very small allotments.

      Delete
    3. That would be sensible. That probably makes it a problem.

      Delete
    4. I don't want new SMART METERS. Then the city will really have control over your water usage.

      Delete
  10. Slow to go City Council. Look how long it took the Council to debate over use water fines, to really collecting those fines from water wasters (not sure the City really collected on those fines; no public information ).
    Governor Jerry Brown declared California drought free, but not if you are a Sierra Madre Council member. "You" know so much more than Sacramento.
    The City Council and the mismanaged Water Department under Mr. Inman, brought the town to this "brown water" drip.
    The "look at the odds" statement and "stoopid", are just what nonsense the City Council pushes.
    With no, or very little push back from residents, could be their right.
    When is the time for that Forensic Audit? When bankruptcy is declared?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Do we know how much Sierra Madre has taken in water fines? How that money has been spent? There is so little real information these days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Income has gone down because of people changing their habits - the big fines help, but probably not enough to change that decrease.

      Delete
    2. Isn't the City Council starting to look at another water rate hike? Er, excuse me. Adjustment?

      Delete
    3. Could that be water under the bridge?

      Delete
  12. As is always the case, when City Hall comes up with something that enhances its revenue take, it never goes away. No matter how many times we were told it is temporary. The UUT is a prime example of that.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I don't understand why there is that big fine in the first place. Wouldn't it be enough to just charge people according to the tiers? So when Tier 1 allotment is used up, move into the Tier 2 prices. Or would that penalize the heaviest users too much!
    Businesses are exempt, yeah?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Not having a lush green yard doesn't mean letting 2 ft high weeds take over. People clean up your weed patch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've got six 5' weed plants if that is what you mean?

      Delete
    2. One step to becoming a desert is the weed patch. Once you get past that stage you are there.

      Delete
  15. Get rid of the UUT and the pensions ,city hall must live within it's budget

    ReplyDelete
  16. The 2103 year for determining water allotments was patently unfair. Folks who were conserving got hit hard over those who had very little understanding of the problem and were using water lavishly. Now, if the city wants us to keep up the conservation efforts (and I think we need to always use water wisely) we need to readjust the conservation marks based on a per household water budget. What we have now is absolutely Unfair!

    ReplyDelete
  17. People can't clean their weed patch, they are busy working to pay for bottled drinking water and the unreasonable water tier antiquated system Sierra Madre operates under.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 9:02, thank you. That's how it's going in our household.

      Delete
    2. They had time when it was grass. Just lazy or cheap.

      Delete
  18. Another boondoggle for the City Council, do "you"have know how much those not so "smart" meters cost to purchase and install?
    Another rip off for the homeowners inorder to make the City Employees work simpler, they are so over worked you know; collecting those platinum parachutes for their retirements.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Can the imported water prices the City has contracted be reduced?

    ReplyDelete
  20. The City will be asking for more money.
    The 2018 ballot, will allow voters to end the UUT.
    Isn't it time for City Hall to work for the public and curtail the spending and build up the reserves?

    ReplyDelete
  21. With Sacramento increasing population density on cities, we will continue to be restricted in water use to cover these forced density increases. I would say we are being taxed out of our homes to make room for more wealthier residents. Does this sound like our city leaders have our best interests at heart?

    ReplyDelete
  22. Weeds growing in an unwatered yard sounds like natural vegetation to me. Let it grow as an example of a "we are running out of water" yard.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If the city is going to fine me, then I will grow weeds.

      Delete
  23. I like the looks of nature. Those so called weeds all have a name, may not fit into a landscapers vision of what you need.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Weeds, as in cash crop? Why not. Great way to make a statement, homeowner can pay for water and UUT. Trinidad, Colorado, here we go.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A SMPD cop told me as far as he knows as long as it's fenced and not accessible to the public, no problem. Marijuana is a beautiful plant and water wise.

      Delete
    2. It is called ganjascaping.

      Delete
    3. It does not need to be fenced. The city council axed that idea for medical marijuana.

      Delete
    4. Large pot plants in the front yard will create a neighborhood sensation.

      Delete
    5. Especially if they are by the drug rehab Dedicato on Carter.
      Not exactly the neighborhood ambience they are after

      Delete
    6. Actualy Sierra Madre code does not mention Recreational Marijuana, only Medical Under 17.10.010. So State Law prevails.
      Prop. 64 to legalize recreational use and cultivation of marijuana has brought over 50 localities (and probably more) passing or considering local regulations. Under Prop. 64, all Californians can grow up to 6 plants per parcel of land for their personal use. Local jurisdictions may ban outdoor cultivation, but may not ban growing 6 plants indoors or in a “secure” location (they can, however, "reasonably regulate" it). Patients with a doctor's recommendation can still grow more plants if needed, provided their local jurisdictions will allow it.

      Delete
  25. Sacramento will increase populations by making California a sanctuary State, just give up your home to illegals, the wealthy can send in their money from out of state to show support.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Not lazy or cheap with water conservation and weeds.
    The city is taking more from my budget, and I watch the city not water all the city trees that have died, or penalize me for watering city trees, so that they won't die.
    I watch the city not cut back on their watering and the city give monetary breaks for restaurants and businesses in town.
    The city does not remain on budget and passes the unreasonable increases onto citizens.
    Lazy is the Council, not working on behalf of it's citizens and not being transparent.
    Where is the planning and savings being offered to the citizens.
    The town is contracted out in so many areas, the Council continually asks for more money.
    Come on, why is moving forward, seem as if the town is stuck in nowhere.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So why don't you run for City Council and change things? Much easier to post anonymous comments I guess.......

      Delete
  27. A weed is a plant growing where you don't want it.

    Yards full of non-nursery volunteer plants that show up after the grass is removed are not always California natives. Some are invasive plants that in the long run you might not want. When they dry out (fire hazard) you might considered getting the scyth from the barn and wacking them down to ground level and putting the brush into the green waste can. Enough of the seed stock will be left behind for the next wet spell for germination or the birds to eat.

    An interesting book for people who want to work with native plants is Weeds of the West. See how pretty some are, make your choice and head out to Theodore Payne of Tuna Canyon Rd. and buy some California natives to plant.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Great idea on the native plants from Theodore Payne and Rancho Bernando Botanicals, as soon as I have more cash in hand to beautify the yard; maybe when Sierra Madre stops charging me extra monies for the non existent drought.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe when I can trust the drinking water again, and can stop buying water for drinking and cooking...

      Delete
    2. I only drink beer.

      Delete
    3. yum, beer. Do they have TCH beer?

      Delete
  29. I'm paying almost the same amount as I was 3 years ago stop whining,start conserving.
    4/13/2017 Payment ($144.24) $0.00
    3/31/2017 Bill $144.24 $144.24
    2/14/2017 Payment ($144.24) $0.00
    1/31/2017 Bill $144.24 $144.24
    12/13/2016 Payment ($141.41) $0.00
    11/30/2016 Bill $141.41 $141.41
    10/24/2016 Payment ($161.01) $0.00
    9/30/2016 Bill $161.01 $161.01
    8/10/2016 Payment ($149.92) $0.00
    7/31/2016 Bill $149.92 $149.92
    6/14/2016 Payment ($140.61) $0.00
    5/31/2016 Bill $140.61 $140.61
    4/14/2016 Payment ($135.17) $0.00
    3/31/2016 Bill $135.17 $135.17
    3/30/2016 Cutoff Exclusion $0.00 $0.00
    3/30/2016 Memo $0.00 $0.00
    3/3/2016 Payment ($159.41) $0.00
    1/31/2016 Bill $159.41 $159.41
    12/14/2015 Payment ($164.59) $0.00
    11/30/2015 Bill $164.59 $164.59
    10/13/2015 Payment ($143.34) $0.00
    9/30/2015 Bill $143.34 $143.34
    8/13/2015 Payment ($137.89) $0.00
    7/31/2015 Bill $137.89 $137.89

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you bathe ?

      Delete
    2. What is with the monthly bills? Don't you have the meter read every other month like the rest of us?

      Delete
  30. Pasadena Unified Schools use a higher amount of water on the upper and lower campuses.
    What amount is the Pasadena School District charged when repaying Sierra Madre? And what allotment were they given?

    ReplyDelete
  31. NFL Patriot; Aaron Hernandez found dead in his cell today/ sucide. RIP.

    ReplyDelete
  32. $37 a cubic hectare. 137% allotment.

    ReplyDelete
  33. FOX:Bill O'Reilly leaving the Factor.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Another rightwing office molester.

      Delete
    2. Out with a whimper
      Good riddance loudmouth fake journalist

      Delete
  34. 2:51pm. Obviously not a home owner, just an apartment dweller.
    With Athens Trash bin rentals about $60.00 a month x 2 months, so you use $10.00 a month in water usage?
    Yeh, thanks for the fake water billing run on.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Yup! There is no way that the bills were identical in those back to back bills without it being "averaged" by the appartment owner/manager, etc. Homeowner's water bills are irregular by the very fact of usage is different by degrees from month to month.

    ReplyDelete
  36. The drought is over. Everybody in the pool!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Arcadia is taking Sierra Madre's water. Some group of people for many years did not notice what was going on, and the bottom line is now city hall wants us to pay for there mistakes.

    ReplyDelete