For some reason, our neighbors at CAWA just can’t seem to get their facts straight, this time (yet again) in connection with what actually happened in Felton, California [“Measure W will increase your bill,” COURIER, October 17].
As you recall, the residents of Felton bought their water system in 2007; in their case from the private company California American Water (CalAm).
When Felton FLOW volunteers first organized in 2002 to promote purchasing their water system, they estimated, and publicized, that the total purchase cost would be between $8 and $12 million. The final purchase cost was right around $10 million—exactly in the range they publicized to every local resident, in the very beginning. CAWA’s “250 percent more” is absolute baloney, and Felton FLOW has the initial door hanger to prove it!
Due to Felton's unique funding arrangements, residents there are paying $466 per year on their property tax to fund the purchase, while their water rates went down significantly by joining the local public water agency. Not CAWA’s “extra $500.” Please, CAWA, a little accuracy! (As an aside, the purchase does, after all, have to be paid for.)
Due in part to neglected maintenance under CalAm’s private ownership, water rates have increased in the seven years since the takeover. Yet, despite all that—the $466 annual tax and about 70 percent increase in rates—Felton’s water users are still paying less today for their water than they would be paying if they had not bought their water system. Current rates are still below CalAm’s approved rates in 2008. With the average user still saving over $300 per year. Not CAWA’s extra $1,217 per year.
Now, if only CAWA could finally get their facts straight. Yes, CAWA, facts, not scare-mongering!