Letter to the Editor: WATER RATES " Economy not helping Tahoe City PUD
November 18, 2008
Recent letters spotlight concerns of fellow taxpayers about the impacts of the water and sewer rate increases currently proposed by the Tahoe City Public Utility District.
In her letter, TCPUD Board President Kelly Atchley recounts an 18-month record of studies and consultant analyses, while Tahoe City resident Virginia Graham points out that key assumptions and conclusions of such studies may no longer be valid given the current financial crisis, and should therefore not be used as bases for the Board’s decision schedule for Nov. 24.
Other points worthy of note are that recent events have substantially decreased confidence in heretofore trusted organizations having the necessary motivation and discipline to properly handle the resources that they already possess, resulting in taxpayer funded bailouts of incompetent management practices.
The reality is, individuals, families, businesses and government agencies must adjust the ways they have functioned in the past, and it would be extremely unwise for any of them to act as if they are immune to today’s financial climate.
My years as a Government Program Manager taught me valuable lessons that are applicable here, and I have offered specific suggestions to the TCPUD Board. Achieving progress and success however, depend upon winning constituents’ support by modifying current practices, plans, and timetables to minimize adverse effects.
Instead of making decisions based on possibly outdated inputs a better strategy is to start with areas most constituents already support, then proceed in an orderly manner. For example, most would likely support the need to properly plan and fund an infrastructure replacement reserve account given the potential impact of not doing so. Most constituents would support a consumption-based rate structure where heavier users bear a fairer share of the burden, and the majority would also support the TCPUD doing some serious belt-tightening.