We gather our successful 75 percent vote for public water in Felton, Califronia has become a topic in the Claremont effort for public ownership of your water system. We’d like to clear up a few misconceptions.
We calculated that CalAm paid $2 million for our system. We never said the water system would cost us $2 million. In our very first doorhanger around 2002, we said the system might cost us $8 to $12 million. And it did. That included legal fees and buying over 100 acres of watershed land.
We said the bond to buy the system would cost each household $600 per year. We’re now paying $466 per year. We worked hard to be sure people could trust our numbers, and I think we succeeded.
Public ownership has worked out better than we forecast. When we started, the private water company was charging us over 40 percent more than the public entity in the same watershed. For 2008, CalAm already had an approved rate that was more than twice the public water cost for the average user. There have been regular rate increases here, but even with these increases, we’re paying less now than we would be paying under CalAm, including the bond cost!
With public ownership of our water system. We get to vote for the local board members (and see them in the grocery store!) We don’t have the outrageous bureaucracy and expense of the CPUC. We don’t have the excess cost of private profit on a life necessity. And we can protect our local watershed.
Twelve years after starting, and six years with public ownership, it has absolutely proven to be worth it!
Member, Felton FLOW