Redway Water News–Pay Raise for General Manager, A Possible Rate Increase, and More

Dog cooling off in the South Fork Eel [Photo by Kelly Lincoln]

A customer assistance program, a pay raise for the General Manager, and a possible rate increase were all on the agenda of the Redway Community Services District (RCSD) Board of Directors’ regular monthly meeting on June 22, 2017. No members of the public were present.

Customer Assistance Program Suggested

Highlights of the meeting include the District’s Administrative Aide presented the idea of a Customer Assistance Program borrowed from Paradise CA in Butte County.  Under the CAP program, customers who qualify for PG&E’s CARE program would get a $10/month discount offset by property taxes. Most of the RCSD Board liked the idea, but Board Member Michael McKaskle wants to see the $7,300.00 annual reduction in revenue penciled into the 2017/2018 budget that is currently being developed.

Pay Increase

Another highlight was the $6.00 an hour raise the General Manager received. Board Members McKaskle, Sutton and Griffin voted to approve the pay increase.  McClure abstained and Kinder was absent.  This represents about an 18% increase and about $9,000 a year depending on the number of hours worked.  The raise is retroactive back to December of 2016. The Board noted that when this General Manager retires, the salaries generally needed to attract talented help are much higher than this District has been paying. No one mentioned how this will affect the budget or how it will impact RCSD’s ability to pay for the many large infrastructure projects that have been looming for three years now.

Rate Increase

The Board has already completed the Proposition 218 process and can legally raise rates beginning in December with an Ordinance vote. The Board made note to have that item on the agenda in November so that it has been heard and can have a second hearing in December.

Infrastructure Progress

The District has just begun to gain traction toward planning for their needed infrastructure projects which include increasing the capacity of both the water and sewage treatment facilities, increasing the fire flow availability in the Meadows Business Park, repairing a distribution line that was damaged in a landslide in the winter three years ago, and increasing the RCSD water supply by bringing the “unnamed spring” back into production.

Movement toward bringing the spring back into the District’s water supply has occurred. RCSD obtained a lot line adjustment and the District has purchased a small piece of the neighboring property to provide an asement for the Spring’s water treatment equipment. That property belonged to a family trust, and one beneficiary of that trust is Boardmember Art McClure’s wife. Mr. McClure recused himself from all business dealing with the “unnamed spring” before this night’s conversation.

The next step toward bringing the spring back as a water source for RCSD is getting the permits in order. General Manager, John Rogers, will work with Stillwater Sciences to assess the spring, its source, and the supply it provides to the waterfall down to the South Fork Eel near Redway Beach. Boardmember McClure says he has watched the waterfall before and after the RCSD abandoned use of the Spring 8 or 9 years ago and says the flow at the waterfall did not change much. McClure asserts that there are more tributaries feeding the waterfall than this spring.

New Services are Rationed

General Manager John Rogers presented a flow chart for New Service applications. All new projects that hope to receive water and sewer service from RCSD must pay an application fee of $880. District staff then assesses whether there is system capacity to serve the applicant’s project. Some projects will be put on a waiting list for the future when capacity has increased.  Smaller projects may be allowed service in the present.

If RCSD determines the District has sufficient capacity for an applicant’s project, the District will provide the applicant with a “will serve” letter.  At that time, the applicant provides a detailed project application with engineered plans and pays a deposit to the District. After an agreement between the applicant and the District has been signed, the applicant pays the $12,448 New Services Connection Fee and may begin construction if all other needed permits are in order.  The water services connection fee covers the sewer connection fee as well.

All Units Need Metered

During discussion of the new services application process, the Board and staff re-confirmed that during all site inspections (which may occur when a property passes to a new owner, at any service visit, and during any visits with regard to new service connections) the staff will be looking for auxillary units that are receiving water from the RCSD without a separate meter and base rate.  RCSD wants all units on a property to have a separate meter with a separate base rate.  This amounts to about 83.50 bill per unit before water has been delivered or used. Additionally, the District says expects all land owners with auxiliary units to pay the New Connection Service Fee as well as time and materials for installing the lateral lines and the meters.  The District is currently composing an Amnesty Letter to all customers offering half off of these costs if the work is finished within a specified timeline.

Cooperation with Garberville Sanitary District

The General Manager and Board Chair of RCSD plan to meet soon with the General Manager and Board Chair of the GSD in the coming month.  The RCSD Board is interested in GSD’s proposal of sharing staff during emergencies, collaboration on scheduled trainings for staff, collaboration on projects designed to benefit the overall health of the water source, the South Fork of the Eel River.  RCSD’s board is not interested in pursuing connections between the district for fire flow or emergency supply due to concerns about cross contamination and liability.

Regular Meetings of the RCSD occur on the third Thursday of each month.  The next one will be at 6:30pm on July 20th.  The Board is trying out this earlier meeting time to see how it works for all parties.

 

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28 comments

  • Honeydew Bridge C.H.U.M.P.

    Everything should have a meter with a base bill-

    That garden hose, each sink in the house, put like 6 seperate meters with base bills on each toilet.

    If they grow weed please put 27 separate meters with base bills per plant….

    That will teach them!

    Then give everyone raises, they need to buy up stuff when The Caliphate collapses this year.

    Maybe put a separate base bill on the base bill to bill the base bill for being a base bill, then bill that.

    • your mouth needs a meter

    • Your gonna have to pay the fat cats for your grow-bunker-busters and growhadi-attack-chopperz man, you know that right.

      Gro-dozer-destroyer-tanks ain’t cheap..

      And those cats like to stay fat.

  • I’m so thankful I got my own water.

  • That’s so cute how they can rob the people for pay raises. I bet they even have hired guns to shoot or arrest you if you don’t pay for it. What about their benefits? Surely they also get extra boosts there too. It’d be a shame to not increase benefits while the public thirsts.

    Watch “The Man in the High Castle” for insights into California’s strange behavior.

  • No one is getting raises anywhere, like that dunkin doughnut CEO that makes 7k an hour and shits his,diapers over a 15 hour minimum wage proposal.
    None of these jerks high up need a raise and certainly not need to raise consumer prices over it, remember it doesnt take much than a dive to town for a can of whoop ads to get opened up. How far you want to push a dog into the corner before he snaps?

    • Wall Street government funded bailouts and bonuses to CEO’ s during banking crisis and news like this makes me question merits of capitalism at times. Maybe Bernie Sanders, or hell even Col. Sanders, could have remedied this

      • Broadening the horizons, I see the corrupt politicians accepting and even demanding bigger checks from the corporations. It must be nice to have million dollar summer homes in every desirable state.

      • None of that has anything to do with capitalism…. as in free market. It’s corporatism at best and facism at worst.

    • OH my! I had no idea we were forced to buy doughnuts! Maybe it’s just the police enforcement that is, so far? That would explain the funny jokes and memes I see all the time.

  • Amimissingsomething

    Kym, I have a couple of questions that you may be able to answer? #1 How much does the General manager make per hour? #2 Do they have paid benefits? Do they have separate rates for Household water and Ag water? Finally what is the base rate for water, ? dollars = ? cubic feet and do all water users have meters? If you can answer these It would be appreciated. Great article Kym! Thank you once again for following this important subject. pj

  • Last month’s synopsis included a rundown of how this district prices it’s water. Water costs are very detailed. If you want to have specifics, the fee sheets are available to the public.
    http://kymkemp.com/2017/05/23/we-went-to-the-redway-water-meeting-heres-what-we-learned/

    • Just a microcosm of a much bigger trend. I call it the “Detroit” or “Chicago” monopoly model.

      According to Walter Russell Mead, the Bard College professor who is among the nation’s pre-eminent centrist intellectuals, Illinois is only the extreme example of a problem that he sees as epidemic in “blue states” — including California. Writing in The American Interest in 2012, Mead argued that Illinois politicians …

      … have wrecked one of the country’s potentially most prosperous and dynamic states, condemned millions of poor children to substandard education, failed to maintain vital infrastructure, choked business development and growth through unsustainable tax and regulatory policies — and still failed to appease the demands of the public sector unions and fee-seeking Wall Street crony capitalists who make billions off the state’s distress.

  • Diesel DRW - Curb Weight 7762 lbs

    Obviously, RSD will charge WHATEVER, as long as it is more. WHO can afford services in Redway? Retired people? Growers on Oakridge Dr? Who? Redway already has the most expensive water in three counties!

    Go to the meetings! Protest the fees! Quash raises for folks that do nothing! It’s a public agency. They work for you!

    Or just sit home and pay. Your choice.

  • 9000 a year or 18% increase translates going from 41k a year to 50k a year. A nice bump indeed but let’s be real: general manager of an entire utility services district making 50k a year gross isn’t exactly getting rich. Probably will equate to 38k net if that.

    But I’m sure everyone will find a way to demonize this person anyway for being given a pay increase that was approved by the board.

    • oK, nobody is demonizing the person.
      Demonizing the tax system, yes. People are tired of increases in general, and especially the increases that promises that this time will things will actually get fixed.
      After the growers are allowed to wheel and deal, pay their taxes, build their homes and contribute to the community, tax increases like this won’t go over so hard.
      We all need a raise, or even a job for that matter. Stealing extra funds right now from those making $12,000 per year just doesn’t sit well. Gas taxes rising, utilities rising, water rates rising, rent rising, insurances rising, permit costs rising, … everything except social security checks, disability checks, unemployment checks, wage checks, ..
      But, go ahead, insult those who can’t afford it, if it makes you feel better.

    • This agency has few customers. Poor planning and delayed application of improvements resulted in crumbling infrastructure and astronomical costs. NOW who gets to pay? You? Me? The USDA?

      Maybe we do need a higher paid public employee to figure this out…

      Meanwhile: Hire a driller. Put in a well. Only $35,000 or so…

  • http://publicpay.ca.gov/Reports/SpecialDistricts/SpecialDistrict.aspx?fiscalyear=2015&entityid=1892
    http://transparentcalifornia.com/salaries/2016/redway-community-services-district/
    http://publicpay.ca.gov/Reports/SpecialDistricts/SpecialDistrict.aspx?fiscalyear=2015&entityid=1980

    Redway are not the fatest cats. One must keep up with the Jones’s you know. Everybody’s doing it!

    Position- Department- Total Wages- Retirement & Health Cost
    Utility Superintendent Public Works $112,388 $36,589
    General Manager Public Works $111,260 $17,653
    Construction Super Public Works $106,033 $36,481
    Construction Operator Public Works $76,959 $28,146
    Senior Utility Operator Public Works $69,147 $31,917
    Administrative Secretary Public Works $67,111 $33,067
    Utility Operator Public Works $54,278 $25,974
    Accounting Clerk Public Works $44,086 $3,085

    • Bottom line is what can the actual number of ratepayers base/volume of water charged for sustain. Called living within your means!

  • Thank you R.C.W.D.

  • Forcing existing ratepayers to install more meters for auxiliary units on their properties is a violation of California State Law # 2299, aka “the granny flat law, aka “Accessory Dwelling Unit” law. Came into effect on January 1, 2017. Get over it special districts, out lawmakers have passed a much needed law to promote more affordable housing.

  • If you are a voter within Redway CSD boundaries, you are eligible to run for a seat on the board. Either 2 or 3 seats come up for election every 2 years. Make things better! Serve your community! And in the meantime, attend the meetings, ask questions and find out what’s going on. Then you can complain knowledgably and constructively, instead of just shooting your mouth off.
    On a more general subject, while it’s galling to see someone (anyone) get a raise when we ourselves are struggling, the issue isn’t whether or not someone’s getting something we’re not. “I haven’t had a raise in 27 years!” is a dumb reason to deny a raise to someone else, unless it’s the person working a job just like yours. Deny a raise to someone because they personally aren’t doing the work, or because the position is overcompensated, or because the organization can’t afford it. Those are good reasons.

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