The bond is not a tax

I want to thank the Claremont Chamber of Commerce for sponsoring a panel discussion regarding Measure W, a water revenue bond placed on the November 4 ballot by a 5-0 vote of our Claremont City Council. The panel was made up of  pro and con speakers.

The city’s position was represented by Mayor Joe Lyons who, as an elected member of the city council, could not give personal opinions about the water bond. Mr. Lyons could only state facts and figures, such as the $55 million formal appraisal of the value of the water system that the city had done prior to deciding to have Claremont voters decide whether or not we should proceed with steps to take over the water company.

On the pro side of the issue was Freeman Allen representing Claremont for Local Water (FLOW). Golden State chose to have Rodney Smith, a former professor, state their opposition of the argument. CAWA chose an economist, Mark Sterba, to present their opposition to Measure W.

Despite the fact that the opponents continue to refer to Measure W as a “tax,” Measure W is a revenue bond, which will be paid off in time by the users of water in Claremont. It is not a tax, no matter how many times the opponents call it that. Revenue bonds are a special form of municipal bond distinguished by its guarantee of repayment solely from users of the system.

In this period of horrible drought, we must all be careful of our water use.  Many community members are already conserving water by taking shorter showers, by replacing large paths of lawn with drought-tolerant plants and watering plants with recycled water. 

I was very confused when Mr. Sterba highlighted the drought and the serious need of water conservation, yet he failed to mention that Golden Stated Water has added WRAM fees (user taxes) to local bills of those who have conserved water.

For those Claremonters who weren’t able to attend this full panel discussion, you can see and hear it on the Claremont Chamber of Commerce website. Time ran out at the panel discussion and the questions that did not get responses will also appear on the website with answers submitted by each side.

Ellen Taylor