Thursday, April 17, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Treatment of Lakes System customers shameful

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From page A11 | February 28, 2014 | 1 Comment

I am writing to express dismay about the city of Vallejo’s attitude toward its Lakes System water customers. Over the 17 years that I’ve resided in Green Valley, I have observed a pattern of the city’s seemingly calculated dismissal of requests for accountability to the Lakes Water customers.

In a Letter of Memorandum dated June 14, 1995, the city agreed to invite Lakes customer representatives to meet with city staff at least every three months, to review operating revenue, expense and capital expenditures. I believe that no reviews occurred until about 2004, when there was a scheduled public meeting about rate increases.

I attended that meeting and the public response was not pretty. The information provided was superficial and the response to important questions seemed evasive. For the past nine years, Lakes customers’ representatives have asked many times for specific information and records. Typically, the city agrees, but does not follow up.

In 2012, under threat of legal action against the city, periodic meetings were finally scheduled with Vallejo water representatives. Many serious issues became evident. Here are three issues that alarm many customers:

  • The dumping of financial responsibility for Vallejo Lakes Water system’s main pipe distribution lines on only 809 Lakes system customers. These now decrepit lines served all 35,000 Vallejo water customers for 90 years.
  • The special assessment of $40 per month per customer for specific (re)payment of 20-year bonds to build, (20 years ago) a Green Valley water treatment plant. A fixed obligation of the Lakes customers has been several times wrapped and extended without disclosure, with other refinanced city debt.
  • The city’s recently revealed intention to sell the Lakes System to a private water company.

Vallejo’s self-serving policies and financial shenanigans, hidden from the Lakes customers, must cease.

Herbert D. Hughes

Fairfield

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