We are raising awareness and understanding of why Vallecitos Water District rates are high, and what can be done about it.
Vallecitos customers need new leadership to curtail water rate increases and end development subsidies. To-date, no one has filed to challenge Division 4 Board Director, Mike Sannella (San Elijo Hills area). If either Mike Sannella or Hal Martin (Division 5) remain on the Board after the elections, a developer-backed majority remains in force without hope for change. Please view the division maps on the Vallecitos website http://www.vwd.org/departments/board-of-directors, reach out to friends and acquaintances in these areas, particularly Division 4, and encourage them to run or find a ratepayer-focused candidate to help our cause. The filing deadline is August 7. Thank you!
The Development Subsidy Paid for by Ratepayers
As of June 30, 2020, the developer fund deficit is now $15.5 million (up from $14.6 million this time last year). This deficit represents money paid by Vallecitos customers (ratepayers) to fund urban development – a subsidy. Developer fees are not sufficient to pay for their impacts and Vallecitos has no plans to adjust developer fees for at least five years. Vallecitos projects the subsidy paid out of our water and sewer rates will increase to $21.2 million within one year. Vallecitos is the only water or sewer agency in San Diego County, likely all of California, with a developer fund deficit – the only agency that subsidizes urban development with ratepayer money.
Ratepayer Reserve Surplus
As of June 30, 2020, ratepayer reserves are now at $97.8 million, compared to $23.2 million when developer-backed politicians gained control of the Board in 2013 – that’s money above and beyond what is necessary to pay for operating costs and asset replacements. It is prudent to maintain some level of reserves, but no other water or sewer agency in San Diego County has accumulated more ratepayer money in reserve than Vallecitos. Fifteen percent of our current water and sewer bill goes to increase reserves even further. Vallecitos projects water and sewer rate increases of 3.5% to 4% next year “and beyond.”
Attend VWD Board Meetings
Vallecitos Water District Board of Directors meets every first and third Wednesday of each month at 5 pm. Attend and provide public comment expressing your concern about the breaks given to developers at the expense of ratepayers. For agendas and more information.
BIA and Developer Payments to Martin and Sannella
Vallecitos Water District (VWD) Board Members Mike Sannella and Hal Martin receive campaign contributions from the Building Industry Association (BIA) and developers. Even though the two-member standing committees of VWD must, by policy, rotate members every year, Sannella and Martin have remained the only members of VWD’s Finance Committee since 2014. Since then VWD ratepayers have paid $52.3 million to amass reserves, fund the developer deficit, and pay for future developer obligations. Also, since then, not one action item has come before the Board regarding long-range financial planning. Learn more at https://friendshipvallecitoswater.org/get-educated/#developer-contributions
The Political Shift that Cost Water Customers Millions
In 2013, newly elected officials of the Vallecitos Water District broadened their scope to include growing the economy.
“The District’s interest has to do with providing basic services, sewer and water, at the best price. That’s all it is. It has nothing to do with helping out developers.” Jim Poltl, Former Member of the Board of Directors
In response, “I look at the bigger picture – economic stimulus. Smaller governmental agencies … make that happen.” Hal Martin, Member of the Board of Directors
Would the economy have grown without the breaks given to developers? Did we pay more for water to stimulate the economy? Or did we just bolster developer profit margins?
Check out these recent presentations to learn more: San Marcos Water Rates and Politics, San Marcos Democratic Club, June 13, 2020; Attorney General Consumer Complaint, May 22, 2020; California Water Politics and Pricing, AICPA Government Performance and Accountability Committee, May 5, 2020; San Diego County Taxpayers Association Golden Fleece Nomination, February 12, 2020; San Marcos Water Rates and Politics, Republican Women of California, February 3, 2020; and San Marcos Water and Politics-The Price We Paid, Palomar College Political Economy Days, October 23, 2019, recorded lecture, presentation slides, and news article.