White Paper on A Special District: SLVWD

The San Lorenzo Valley Water District is classified as an independent special enterprise district in California.  This white paper summarizes what this kind of political structure is, how it is governed and how citizens affected by it can be most effective in participating in its' administration.  The keynote perspective for this topic is well stated in the opening paragraphs of a publication by the California Senate Local Government Committee,

SLVWD's Personnel Committee Meeting 12/13/13

This morning, in the freezing cold, a few courageous souls ventured out to attend this meeting that convened at 8:30 AM.  One of the two topics that was discussed focused on filling three positions which are currently open in the Administrative Department.  The other topic centered on the Operations Department's Succession Planning for replacing three high level employees who will soon be approaching retirement.  Present at the meeting were Directors Bruce and Rapoza, District Manager Mueller and Director of Operations Rogers.  The public was represented by Peter Lang, Bruce Hol

SLVWD'S Community Outreach Citizen's Advisory Committee

On November, 27, 2013, the SLVWD PR Committee met to discuss their formation of a Community Outreach Citizen's Advisory Committee.  In the preliminary document that Director Margaret Bruce wrote, she stated that the reason for creating such a committee is for the purpose of "engaging members of the community to provide input to the District on various ways the District can cost-effectively improve community outreach and communication with the District's customers and stakeholders." 

11/07/13 SLVWD Board Meeting Review

Last night’s SLV Water Board Meeting offered up glimpses of the board’s refashioned public outreach intentions, and ongoing reminders of the challenges the board faces via the ineffectual day-to-day management of the district.

Director Margaret “F-Bomb” Bruce, lead a discussion regarding the formation of a Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC), designed to provide rate-payer input to the board on key topics such as the facility requirements, and the Capital Improvement Program.

White paper on the Adjusted Rate Increase

On Thursday evening, 10.24.2013, the San Lorenzo Valley Water District (SLVWD) held a special board meeting to count the protest letters and decide what to do next if insufficient letters were received (for audio recordings, see: Public comments (1hr 30m),   Board action (30m)).  Since the count was almost 2800, short of a majority by about 840, the Board proceeded to review agenda item 7a, 

Randall Brown Talks With His Constituents About Alternatives to SLVWD's Proposed 65% Rate Increase

The San Lorenzo Valley Water District ratepayers have begun to compare SLVWD to CAL-AM.  Why?  It is because the proposed 65% rate increase is reminiscent of those days when CAL-AM asked for similarly high rate increases.  With that comparison in mind, I met with Director Randall Brown on Thursday morning, 10/17/13, prior to the board meeting.  I asked him if there were other solutions to the district's current proposal that would result in a lower rate increase and if so, what would it look like. 

Watchdogs Interview with Randall Brown

Last week, Watchdogs Suellene and Stephen conducted a two-hour interview with San Lorenzo Valley Water District Director Randall Brown.  It was a lively and pleasant conversation.  We found him to be personable, forthright and transparent about matters pertaining to the 65% rate increase and the District generally.  This was a refreshing change from the verbal PR sales literature promulgated in the media up to this point. 

White Paper on the Administrative Campus

Our first white paper, Rate Increases & Capital Improvements, presented an overview discussing how the proposed rate increase was determined that heavily relied on the significance of particular capital improvement priorities first documented in the Capital Improvement Program, 2010 (CIP).  In particular, the CI

Let's Preserve the Ecological Balance of Our Sensitive Watershed Inheritance

In my last blog, we looked at financial information that factually identifies the remodeling and development activities that SLVWD (District) engaged in from 2004 through 2013.  What does that tell us?  Mainly, that the intent to develop the Campus has been a primary activity for which the District has been willing to engage even though there were other projects listed in their Capital Improvement Program that may have required more immediate attention.  This approach towards making management decisions also reveals a perspective that may not be compatible with accepted best pra

By Any Name, Campus or Facilities Consolidation, Do the Rate Payers Need It?

The SLVWD'S notice to their rate payers proposes a massive new rate increase that will cost rate payers 65% more than they are already paying. Their notice makes the following statement to justify this vast increase: "The primary purpose of the proposed rate increases is to pay for projects that will ensure SLVWD maintains, repairs and improves its water system so that it can provide safe and reliable water service to its customers, including during emergencies.

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