In the March 15 COURIER, Tobias Hecht asked “What else could we do with $54 million?” (the appraised value of Claremont’s water system): free day care, hospice service, improve support for teachers...
If we had that choice I, too, would be wary of buying the Claremont water system—but we don’t. The money is not available for such things. It is the money now profiting Golden State Water Company, about $8 million per year, that we could save and use to buy the system. How do we do that?
The estimated annual saving if we owned our water system as neighboring cities do is about $8 million. That money could be used to purchase 30-year revenue bonds, paid for entirely by water users, worth at least $150 million. There would be no need to raise taxes, or take money from Claremont’s general fund, or raise water rates (unless the system costs more than that $150 million).
In coming years we, not Golden State Water Company, would set Claremont’s water rates. That’s the way to keep millions in savings in the community for other needs. Best of all, we will control our own water future.
Water does matter. Control of this vital resource will determine our future in critical ways. Let’s have a reasoned weekly discussion of water issues in the COURIER. I’m not a water expert, but I have followed water issues in Claremont since Marilee Scaff and I were principle authors of “Water Issues in the City of Claremont 2005” (posted at www.claremont.ca. lwvnet.org). Lets have that discussion. Together we can get it right!