I just read the letter to the editor “Coal majority,” (Sierra Sun, Nov. 15) and I am stunned and appalled by what I just read.
A 50-year contract between a Utah company and our Truckee Donner Public Utility District: Is this for real? I attended the American Association of University Women candidate night meeting, at which both Pat Sutton and Ron Hemig were present and gave us their vision for the future of PUD. I don’t recall hearing anything about a 50-year contract. Who in this world with a right mind will make a 50-year contract for anything, let alone for energy?
In 50 years, none of us will be here, so how can we possibly make a contract that our children and grandchildren must honor? And in a few years, there could be a lot of progress in finding new sources of energy.
So what is the rush? Why should we tie ourselves down with a 50-year contract?
I liked it more when the Sierra Sun was published once a week and we paid for it.
Things just did not slip through. If we could not get a paper when it was published, we knew we could pick up a copy until the following week when the next issue came out. Now, if we don’t go to town and don’t pick up a paper we have missed a lot, like Christine Stanley’s Nov. 3. article on 50 years of coal power for Truckee. This is a small community and in my opinion we don’t need a daily paper full of advertising.
We need a paper that will keep us in touch with what is happening in our town and a weekly paper did just that. Now if we do not pick up the paper everyday we don’t know what is going on. I wonder whose idea was it to go daily? However, that is another issue.
Getting back to the PUD, it seemed that they were going to consider wind power for generating electricity. We never heard about that. Why is the PUD board, an elected body, considering putting us under contract for 50 years ” which is longer than many of us even will be around ” without our knowledge? Why couldn’t PUD send us a letter or a flyer explaining this issue with our monthly invoice? How are we as residents of this town to keep track of things if we are not informed?
Just publishing an article in a daily newspaper full of advertising is not the answer. I believe we should all gather by PUD building on Nov. 29 and protest this ludicrous idea.
To those of you who believe there is a serious problem with the condition of the NTPUD water grid, we may have lost the election for representation on the board, but our voices have been heard. My analyses and publicizing of the water loss, grid decay and fiscal policy helped increased public awareness resulting in many calls to the directors and staff.
At the NTPUD Planning and Operations Committee meeting just before the election, the subject of water grid loss was discussed. Water loss has averaged 28 percent for the last two years, meaning as the maintenance crew fixes one leak, another starts somewhere else in the system for no net gain on the problem, even after an active approach to finding leaks.
At that meeting, board Director Lewis issued a goal to Public Works Director Schegg to reduce water loss by 2 percent a year for the next five years, to bring the overall loss to an industry acceptable level.
It has been proven this cannot be accomplished by leak repair; it will require replacement of pipes. At this mandated rate, approximately one mile of line a year would need to be replaced. This cost is currently about $1.5 million for an average in the district (the upcoming Beaver Street project rate is $2,570,000 per mile for very difficult geology and terrain). Current year budgeted capital improvements on the pay-as-you-go fiscal policy are $170,000, far short of what is needed, so the use of capital reserves would be required.
In the much touted unrestricted reserves of about $9 million, only $1.75 million is available for the water system, based on the current audit and treasurer’s reports. This only meets the first year’s goal. You might ask then, how can this be financed using a “pay-as-you-go” financial policy? Obviously it cannot. That is the conundrum; how to replace water lines without the financial resources. Again I emphasize, public grants, not debt financing.
The district financial policy was to be discussed at the November board meeting, but was tabled until the December meeting. Be there.