Time to come clean Calaveras County Water District
After attending all three town hall presentations by the CCWD staff, there is a need to put some background to this effort to substantially raising rates. First, we need to read between the lines about what was not talked about. How we got here should have been clearly spelled out by our district staff and it was not. The staff said it was all aobut future connections that did not materialize and a lower tax income. The districts yearly audited financial reports say differently.
When I ran for this board in 1988, CCWD had $28 million invested in current/restricted assets plus income from those investments. The numbers presented in this letter are from those statements.
By 2005, those investments rose to $45 million with the districts payroll of $4 million and directors average pay of $21k per year. Now it gets ugly, as you recall the markets fell apart. Back in 1988, CCWD was heavily invested in GMAC (General Motors) which everyone knows went bankrupt.
Fast forward to 2012, where we find the investment portfolio fell to $21 million with district payroll going up to $8 million and directors making $27k per year. They just approved a new budget and gave themselves an average $5k raise for next year.
My concern here is either the district financial officer was not listened to by your elected directors as the markets were changing or this officer should be sued for not protecting our interests. Either way every other entitiy faced the same financial dilemma but most chose to be big boys about it and made adjustments to accomodate. My business profile changed dramatically after the market fell.
The bottom line is your elected directors and staff at CCWD lost $23 million of your money in the financial markets between 2005 and 2012. How much are they asking you to pony up over the next five years?
I understand there is time and emotion invested by the district in making their proposal to increase rates. It is clear in watching the presentations and listening to responses by staff and directors, the individuals working on this effort are limited by the business tools they have learned in their working careers.
Who am I? I recently retired from a national corporation with the responsibility to put over $14 million per year on the table for investors. If you need to pay for studies and consultants to do your homework, it’s time to get out of the business. If you have limited business tools and no proven business experience, what is happening now with the district is exactly the result you can expect.
If the CCWD directors chose to vote no to rate increases on 10 July, I will be shocked.
Dennis Mills Vallecito