• Mayor Urges Public Not to Support Sewer Protest

    You have probably received a letter this week urging you to protest an increase in sewer maintenance fees.  These fees are part of our Pollution Control Agency bills.  The new fees were proposed by the council in a unanimous vote on May 27.  We received extensive public comment over 2 council sessions and discussed the topic thoroughly.  It’s a Proposition 218 process, which requires property owner notification.  The rates go into effect unless a majority protest is received.

    I personally urge that you not support the protest.  Here’s the background:

    The fees are based on a new 10year maintenance plan necessary for the safe and reliable operation of our sewer system.  Over the prior 10 years we have made extensive upgrades to our aging sewer system.  That work was under a court order that just recently expired.  Yet there is much work still to do. The maintenance plan was developed by a very capable engineering firm after a thorough survey of sewer conditions.While we are a step beyond crisis, the council and city staff view the work as urgent. It’s a necessary expense and important for the quality of life for our residents and visitors.

    In the past couple of years there was some overcharge of maintenance fees, which used a legacy methodology that triggered a small increase in 2012. The new Prop 218 method will be consistent with current law. The fees recognize all current sewer fund balances as contributing to the necessary maintenance.

    In moving forward with the new rate schedule, the council received public input demanding a rebate of the overcharges, in the spirit of holding “the city” accountable, and overtly punishing “the city”.

    Yet who is “the city”?  It’s you and me. The consequences of a successful protest are that we will have less money for critical maintenance of our sewer system. Or we could do a refund and start a new Prop 218 process to bring in the full amount of money. Both the time and expense of that effort would undermine the sewer maintenance plan. In any case, we would delay maintenance, and have less of it. We certainly want to prevent sewer problems such as the recent case of the Pollution Control Agency’s pump station overflow to the Bay.

    That’s why the council moved forward with the new rate schedule that you are seeing. And that’s why I urge our citizens to turn aside this protest campaign and support our sewer maintenance plan.

    Bill Kampe, Mayor

    Pacific Grove

    posted to Cedar Street Times on July 2, 2015

    Topics: Front PG News

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