….. DAMAGES A HARMONIOUS ACQUAINTANCE
Steve Fetbrandt, arguably the Lake Elsinore-Wildomar Patch’s premier reporter accurately quotes your’s truly’s recent comments to him in today’s Patch article on opposition to the proposed water district merger.
Please click on a link for the entire article.
His writing reminds me of a former Californian reporter by the name of José Carvajal for its accuracy and incisiveness.
However, José took the job of Public Information Officer for the Lake Elsinore Unified School District as it probably paid better than being a reporter. Fair enough.
Sadly, however, José recently moved to the Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District to be their “spokeshole.”
Which brings us front and center to today’s Patch article.
First, José, I understand that when you take “The Man’s” money, you have to carry, ironically, The Man’s water for him.
That being said, to characterize my fact-based comments as “misleading,” sadly reduces my respect for you, downward to the baser level of your predecessor spokeshole, Greg Morrison.
In a hopefully meaningful exercise for the readers of Wildomar Magazine, let’s discuss what’s been said, as follows:
“In the days following the meeting, foes continued to argue that the plan is awash in murky water, including inadequate information, dubious facts and suspect financial analysis.
“People don’t want to pay extra for new pipes,” said Gil Rasmussen, a Wildomar resident, EVMWD customer and merger opponent. “EWD hasn’t done its work and now it’s apparently caught up with them.”
Rasmussen believes it could cost upward of $24 million to rebuild EWD’s system. The $6.7 million would cover only the first phase, he said.
“The bottom line is that I’m not gonna pay a … penny to pick up the costs for the little water district,” Rasmussen said. “It’s their problem, not ours.”
My comments regarding the $24,000,000 to replace the entire system is based upon information provided by the paid consultant speaking for the little water District during a break in the merger meeting.
My question to him was what would be the total exposure to the EVMWD ratepayers, if the entire aging, decrepit EWD system required replacement?
The consultant’s response was $24,000,000.
Based upon my formal training as a Risk Manager, that is the figure that the EVMWD must anticipate, should this merger go forward.
And, José, if you recall, as I spoke at the merger meeting, my request was that a formal study be conducted by the various water districts to properly quantify, if possible, that exposure.
Not an unreasonable request, given the potential exposure.
José’s follow-on statement makes my point.
Jose Carvajal, public information officer for EVMWD, said the $24-million figure is misleading.
“That figure is if the EWD system completely failed tomorrow and we had to replace the entire system,” he said. “That’s really not likely to happen. The $6 million is for the more immediate problems.”
Obviously then, according to Carvajal, there are “less immediate problems” as well.
No one can say for certain, not José Carvajal, nor Greg Morrison, nor EWD Board Pres. Jeff George, can tell us when the entire system might fail.
Further, at last Wednesday evening’s Wildomar City Council meeting,
Carvajal EVMWD Director-elect Andy Morris tried to float a “turd” past me by stating that the EVMWD believes that the merger with the little water District will show a profit within five years.
Do the math with me, as follows:
1500 customers times $40 current average bill per month times 12 months times five years equals $3.6 million.
However, since most commercial operations can only achieve 5 to 6% net profit, “profitability,” even if 10% per year, would only net $360,000 in profitability.
According to my calculations, it will take more than 18 years to offset the cost of replacing the “known” substandard water lines.
Of course, if EVMWD raises everyone’s water rates, including yours, to amortize the known repair expense of $6.7 million, it will take less years to recapture it.
Or, am I misleading again?
I am calling on both John Lloyd and Andy Morris, since we’re not certain who will be voting on the merger, to properly represent Wildomar’s, and Murrieta’s, ratepayers by voting against this merger, unless, and until a properly conducted study on the exposure to the EVMWD ratepayers is completed and published, before this questionable merger should go forward.
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