Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Going to the big meeting? Here are some questions you can ask at tonight's Sierra Madre Water Forum


As you are probably aware, once a tax or fee or anything involving the creation of revenue being sent to City Hall is put into place, it never goes away. Remember, the Utility Users Tax (UUT) was originally supposed to only be temporary, and thanks to your vote it will now continue into eternity.

The above passage comes from a brochure sent out by the city a while back called "The Consumer Confidence Report." The question it appears to be dealing with here is why should water usage fines continue now that Jerry Brown had done away with the drought emergency he had imposed to cut water usage?

Tucked inside that drought emergency was the threat by Sacramento of some pretty draconian penalties for those cities that did not curb the water usage of its residents. Sierra Madre was at risk of incurring some pretty big ones.

But now that the drought emergency is finally over, some are asking, why should the City of Sierra Madre continue to fine its residents over their water usage? And at a pretty stiff clip. You may recall the folks on E. Highland who protested their $1,000.00 water bill at the most recent City Council meeting. I'm fairly certain this was the incident that lead to tonight's get together.

So here is the question. Will Sierra Madre's water fines ever go away? Or have they become yet another permanent revenue stream being used by a city that is literally drowning in its debt? And if so, exactly how would you justify making residents continue to pay those fines when that money is being used for whatever purpose City Hall sees fit?

This will naturally lead to someone from the city mentioning the high cost of water being supplied to Sierra Madre by the unhappily exploitative SGVMWD. At which time you would need to counter, "How exactly did our water representatives back then manage to negotiate such an awful deal? And why isn't the city trying to get us a better one now?"

I'd do this for you but I'm working late tonight.

Don't get lost!

The location of the meeting might change. According to the City of Sierra Madre website if the crowd becomes too large for the Hart Park House, the meeting will move to Council Chambers at City Hall. Of course, those arriving early at the original location won't know that the crowd is going to be large until it is, so they should be prepared to have to give up their good seats.

This should have been held at City Hall from the beginning. Council Chambers isn't all that big, anyway.

One thing you should not do is try to use the web address provided on the city's website for the Mountain Views News. It is kind of wonky. Maybe the person who typed that one didn't graduate from UC-Berkeley, either?




As always, try and have some fun. It's better that way.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

45 comments:

  1. "Making water conservation a California way of live."

    OK.

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  2. If they hold it in the Hart Park House it can't be televised.

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    Replies
    1. That is why they want it there.

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    2. Controlled transparency.

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  3. It all makes sense, and dollars. Sierra Madre is continuing to replenish its groung water.
    The town is not on the Northern California hook up; or the rerouting of bullet train dollars for water conections into Southern California.
    The genius of the last water department director was in negligence of checking off a box in paperwork submitted to the County giving the go ahead for water to enter the Settling Basins a few years back; the embarrassment alone must have been reason enough to "job change".
    The ground aquifers took a larger "hit" then usual durning the five year drought.
    So, conservation is here to stay for now; it's not such a bad thing.
    Remember to turn down the thermostat and lights when exiting the building tonight; every little bit helps.

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    Replies
    1. Why is the SGVMWD ripping us off so badly?

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    2. Because our city lets them.

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    3. The justification for these fines is the gouging done by the SGVMWD. Should we now conclude they're splitting the take?

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    4. 10:01. They wouldn't split it....they extorted it and they count every cent before the go to bed.

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    5. Why haven't we sued? Our tax money goes to maintain the SGVMWD, right? Why do other cities pay less than we do?

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  4. Why there are water finesAugust 9, 2017 at 6:58 AM

    Water Debt Obligations

    The water system is suffering from an extreme lack of financial flexibility. Currently the City's water fund has two bond issuances and one loan. The total payments for debt in the Water Fund are nearly $1,000,000 annually and represent 22% of all expenditures this budget year.

    http://www.cityofsierramadre.com/services/water/water_debt

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  5. Someone is not pushing the replay button on City Business anyway. The local cable always reads "to be announced."

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    1. City Council and Planning Commission meeting replays are always available on YouTube.

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  6. What a giant mess Sierra Madre has it's finances backwards.

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    Replies
    1. Eventually the city will have to ask the residents to bail it out. The city could at least have the decency to tell us how it is things got so bad, and who is responsible. A lot of terrible financial and planning mistakes were made by people who are still in town and shooting off their mouths on places like Facebook. It is time all of this got aired out once and for all.

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    2. The more desperate the city gets, the more transparent it will become. Sierra Madre is run by its municipal employee unions. Once the honeypot is truly threatened they'll start throwing out the bodies. Believe me, there are plenty buried under city hall.

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    3. Until the city goes completely broke we will never hear the whole story. That explanation will be given by the courts.

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  7. LLC's and follow the money, it really helps to have your cronies at City Hall.
    It took years to get any of the council members to address the very poor management system of City Hall.
    The damage has been done, now the hard work begins.
    The new Director should continue to eyeball all the finances of every department, including the community events and expenditures.

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  8. While the water agenda is being played out, again, the city manages to add a little more chaos by adding the library problems. Should it move, should it stay? The city is in debt. Yes, it's nice to have a library but our past CC didn't think futuristically when they made their worse than bad decisions. To save the library t its current location means more taxation. Probably a parcel tax of at least 1000.00 per year for 5 years. And yesterday, the bigger problem, water infrastructure goes untouched. We need to get rid of something whether it's the police dept., fire dept. or the library if we are to remain a city. I don't mind paying a parcel tax, etc. if there is an end in sight for the cities indebtedness. That doesn't seem to be part of the agenda with this bunch!

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  9. Is anyone going to this meeting?

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    Replies
    1. Probably not,just the same 20 people. I voted for these Councilmembers I will let them govern.

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    2. 10:05 Guess you already drank your Koolaide

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    3. I voted for the three city councilmembers that ran against raising UUT taxes. I have since learned my lesson and don't trust tge city council at all.

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    4. I live on the East side and as of today's mail delivery, I still have not received my water bill . My meter was read on July 11th. It feels like the City wants to wait until the meeting is over before I receive my bill.

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    5. I'm grateful that there is a meeting but so many residents are on vacation. Why didn't the City give more notification time for an all City resident meeting?

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    6. Good question.

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  10. 9:15am. Read 9:06am.

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  11. 10:05am. YOU are exactly the reason why City Council has gotten away with so much over all these years...

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    1. I guess that's why I live in this horrible place because I have faith in my representatives I have made it a living hell in Sierra Madre. Oh wait I love it here been here all my life,my standard of living is great,my home has appreciated in value over $800,000. since I bought it,and I've never been burglarized. I lead a charmed life,I hope "they" continue their irresponsible behavior. Sorry you've made poor choices.

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    2. I am glad you recognize your responsibility for Sierra Madre's financial crisis. Now if you could get all of that written on a sign and wear it around your neck while standing on the Baldwin side of Kersting Court, I think you'll be well on your way to forgiveness.

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  12. The last Councilmember to stand up for the people of Sierra Madre was Kurt Zimmerman. Had the forensic audit he called for gone through this would have all been over years ago. The criminal behavior of the early 2000s is still being covered up. As someone said earlier, it will take bankruptcy to get the truth out.

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  13. The good thing about fining people for using too much water is you don't have to go through a Prop 218 process and you still get to keep the money.

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  14. Don't use too much water and you won't get fined. If this sounds crazy to you then you probably don't have the appropriate plants for the climate.

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    1. How about letting the people who want to spend loads of money on water being allowed that, and those who want to conserve be allowed that. Just jack up the tier 2 prices, and abolish the penalty.

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  15. If the city got rid of the fines then people would continue to waste water and drain down our aquifer. Any leaks are another issue, as is billing, but let us not confound the issue. The city manager has seemed to be on the ball, so I am sure he can deal with billing and leak issues. Outside of that I think the fines should stay. All politics and water is local as they say. Those that are wise would quickly realize that.

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    1. The aquifer has already been drained, and with climate change isn't coming back. The issue is SGVMWD ripping us off. If we paid the same price for water the other 6 cities in that system pay now then we wouldn't have these problems. The real problem is money.

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  16. Faith in representatives? You must be on the council, or an on the take DSP citizen of this good town.
    Good that you lock your doors, don't think you should venture out often.
    The only poor choices that I may have made, were to be hoodwinked by individuals running for council, only to be voted in and then begin their reign of terror.
    Lies and deceit put this town of 11,000 in poor shape with mounting bills and contracting out services.

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  17. I don't know why the city council doesn't do worse things to this city. They have and will get away with anything they want to. Run up the bill to your hearts desire city hall, no one will stop you and when they really care it'll be too late for anyone to do anything. Half of this city probably doesn't even know a single member of the city council, so there's no real reason to worry about any pushback.

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  18. Jam packed at the Hart Park House. Not a dry armpit in the place.

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    1. That must be odoriferous. The Hart Park house lacks a certain freshness at normal times.

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  19. Denise Delmar and Rachelle Arizmendi are in the house.

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  20. We are watching a video from Monrovia dealing with dried up aquifers.

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    1. Before they explain why they are screwing many residents by charging outrageous fines, they want you to understand that there's a water problem.

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  21. Why isn't this being televised?

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    1. The Park House was chosen, as Denise D. stated, that they only thought 10 people might show up for the meeting, then said obviously , we were wrong. The placed was packed. All chairs were taken and many residents were standing against the wall. I'm wondering if it broke the fire code laws? Wow!

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