Beaumont City Council Votes to Stop Illegal Sewer Rate Increase
Council Doesn’t Need Workshops, They Need an Honest Lawyer, Public Works Director, Finance Director, and City Manager.
The Beaumont City Council has ‘Approved’ stopping their illegal sewer fee increase. Council was told at the time that it was illegal, but Taxpayer money was wasted to pay Lawyers and Consultants to lie.
There’s no reason to waste more of the Taxpayers’ money on workshops.
And Mr. Parton; the Citizens of Beaumont do not need to be ‘refreshed’ about the Council’s poor choices over the past two years that forces the need for the City to find money anywhere they can.
Mayor White wants “a very good accounting” of the Sewer Money.
We all know where the $5 Million collected between January 2015 to November 2016 went; the Council stole it from the Sewer Fund and deposited it into the General Fund and then it was wasted on Lawyers and Consultants.
Beaumont City Council Meeting Transcript December 5, 2017
Item 14. Setting the Time, Date and Place for a Community Meeting Regarding the Proposed Increases to Sewer Rates
Parton: We’ve provide sufficient notice per Chapter 218 for the Public Hearing, which is scheduled for the proposed Rate Increase that we have for the Sewer System. That Rate Increase has been under schedule to be considered for an option to go into effect the beginning of March of this [next] year. Since we’ve provided notice I think there’s been some good questions out there within the community about the Rate Increase and about our sewer operation and the financial implications of the sewer system. I really think that those are good questions that really deserve some answers before we formally consider these rate adjustments. I would ask Council to consider stopping the current rate process to allow us to begin a series of community meetings where we can present some background and refresh the community on some of the rational reasons behind this sewer operation and the rate adjustments we’re looking at and the basis for those. So I’d like to be able to get past the holidays and allow us to bring out Consultants and our Technical Advisors to some of these community meetings so we can refresh the community on what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and walk through some of the financial issues and try to address those questions as we can.
White: So this would involve rescheduling the Prop 218 Hearing?
Parton: Correct. We need to completely re-initiate another Prop 218 Process, should you decide to choose that.
White: Okay. Any questions or comments from Council.
Lara: I appreciate the fact that you are listening to the questions and concerns brought up.
White: What about the Water Agency, isn’t this all part of our requirement to notify the Water Agency of our Financing Plan by the end of the year? Does this change that; what we’re doing there?
Parton: We have two Phases of the Project for the Improvements that we’re looking at. The first is the Sewer Plant Upgrade that we need to Expand because we’re operating at above that 75% operation threshold, which requires us to be in design. So we’ve got enough financial revenue coming in to be able to allow the City to be able to provide the funding necessary or recover the funding necessary to construct the Sewer Plant. So we’re still on track. We’ll be able to address the initial outstanding issue of addressing the Plant construction and Capacity Issues that we need. Outside of that question is what happens with the water quality issues and so that’s where the Salt Mitigation and that’s where the Brine Line portion of that Project really come into play. That’s really what driving the need to increase the Rate for the Capital Portion that we’ve been looking at. But it won’t effect the City’s ability to proceed forward and begin to address those issues that we have outstanding.
White: I don’t know if you have a worse case scenario, but let’s take a worse case scenario. Say the City goes five or six months before we’re actually back at the Prop 218 Hearing; this will not slow us down from expanding the Plant and moving forward financially?
Parton: No, we’re still well underway with the Plant. We’re still looking at our funding financing options and like I said; in looking at our current Rates, we’ve got the capacity to be able to take care of that particular need. The longer term question revolves around the mandate of the Regional Board to address the water quality issues. So at some point there’s going to be increased water quality standards that we have to meet for the water that’s being released. In addition to that we are under a mandate to utilize the Effluent as Reused Water. [Recycled Water] So there is that outstanding issue that’s still out there. Those are longer term issues that are going to have to be addressed and plan to be addressed in subsequent phases of the Capital Improvements that we’ve been looking at.
White: I don’t want to get too deep into the funding because we’ll have time in the upcoming community meetings. What are you thinking about as far as community meetings, what are you talking about? Here we’re considering like a workshop/town hall. We still have the Prop 218 Hearing that will have to happen at some point. What is your thought at getting the message out to the community and getting more input?
Parton: We’ll need to do a mailer to all of our effected Rate Payers and Property Owners to let them know that this Prop 218 Process is being stopped until I let them know that we will be holding a series of community workshops and then consider rescheduling after those workshops and try to address those questions that are out there. I would like us to be able to start those town hall style meetings towards the end of January so a lot of people can get back from the holidays. It could be three or four meetings that we hold and try to provide as much notice to people as possible about what those meetings will look like.
Parton: If this is something you think you want to do; I can come back to you with a Report at the next Meeting on the 19th with an ideal of some calendar days that we’ll try to schedule a series of meeting to have those conversations.
White: At some point in the process, before we get to the Prop 218 Hearing. The common theme that I’ve heard from people in the community is; didn’t we just do Rate Increases five years ago and how does that money plan in to our developing the Plant at this point? I’m not asking you to do that tonight, but what I’m asking you is that there’s a very good accounting of that process from 2013 forward, so we can answer that question.
Parton: We can answer that question. The questions out there are about CFD dollars; how do they plan into this? How does Mello Roos play into this? Didn’t we have a rate increase that already contemplated capital improvements? So we’ll be developing presentations that address that and present to people how the current rates break down, how those funds have been brought in, how they’ve been deployed and utilized, and what we’re looking at operationally and then on a capital basis moving forward.
White: Do we need a vote to stop the Prop 218?
Pinkney: I think since you initiated the process it would probably be a good idea to have a Motion and follow the recommendation of the City Manager.
White: Okay, I move that we follow the recommendation of the City Manager and put the Prop 218 Process on hold at this point.
Vote 5/0 to Approve