ELECT TOM MOORE
BOARD OF DIRECTORS, MARINA COAST WATER DISTRICT
Photo by Zmak Creative Photo by Richard Newhouse
If you are a District rate payer, your interests include receiving clean, reliable water and wastewater services at a reasonable cost from the Marina Coast Water District (MCWD). It痴 also in your interest to receive great customer service and easily accessible water conservation advice from the District. And it痴 in your interest to have a Board of Directors that is honest, trusted, courteous, respected and fiscally responsible.
Elect me on November 6th and I will promote your interests. I値l demand that Cal Am reimburse the District for the millions of your dollars the that were spent on the failed Regional Desalination Project. I値l work to restore courteous behavior on the Board and oppose the playing of petty political games. I値l vote to have Board meetings recorded and made available to you on AMP and on the Internet. I値l show respect for ratepayers, the public, District employees and board members. And I値l work to restore the great reputation that the District Board once enjoyed with other government agencies, the media and the public.
In the years that I previously served as a member of the District Board, I consistently supported your interests. I voted against the extraordinary employment contract for the District General Manager, which included among other things, a base salary higher that that of the Governor of California, four retirement plans and health care for life at District expense. I promoted water conservation and voted for information and control systems to ensure you get excellent service. I supported projects to detect and reduce the seawater threat to our groundwater and to ensure continued access to this low cost water source. I opposed giveaways of your money and worked for good relationships with surrounding cities and districts.
Your support, vote and contribution will be much appreciated in November!
|Bill Monning, Member of the California Assembly||Jane Parker, Monterey County Supervisor|
|Bruce Delgado, Mayor of Marina||Jan Shriner, MCWD Board Member|
|David Brown, Marina City Council Member||Ken Gray, former Marina Council Member|
|Frank O'Connell, Marina City Council Member||Dan O'Brien, former MCWD Board Member|
|David Burnett, Marina Planning Commissioner||Dr. Marion Bryson, former MCWD Board Member|
|Steve Zmak, Marina Planning Commissioner||Charles Scholl, former MCWD Board Member|
|Ben Bankston, former Marina Planning Commissioner||Dr. Jennifer Lagier Fellguth, MPRPD Board Member|
|Carmelita Garcia, Mayor of Pacific Grove||Diane Creasey, Member, MPUSD Board of Trustees|
|Dennis Dyrud, President, Chapter #0579, NARFE||Suresh Prasad, former MCWD Finance Director|
|Dr. Monique Fargues||Gail Morton, Marina City Council Candidate|
|Dr. Joseph Blau||Paula Pelot, Chairperson, Preston & Abrams Parks Tenants Association|
|Jan and Ed Mitchell, Prunedale Neighbors Group||Brooks and Judy Merritt|
|Linda O'Connell||Suzanne Worcester|
|Virgil Piper||Dr. Keebom Kang|
|Roy and Linda Madsen||Janet Brennan|
|Natalie Zayas||Luana Conley|
|Gene Doherty||Julie Engell|
|Joel Weinstein||Safwat Malek|
|Ken and Chris Leetch||Jason Campbell|
|Henrietta Stern||John and Heidi Ficarra|
|Jim and Jane Felton||Kuei Villa|
|Tina Walsh||J. Alan Fagan|
|Robert Creasey||Eric Petersen|
|John Dalessio||Greg Furey|
Ventana Chapter, Sierra Club
Monterey County Association of REALTORSｮ
Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce
Monterey County Weekly
Coalition of Mobile Homeowners
Comments on the Resignation of Steve Collins from the Board of the Monterey County Water Resources Agency: Steve Collins, a member of the Board of Directors of the Monterey County Water Resources Agency, was forced to resign from that board due to an alleged financial conflict of interest involving him and a contractor that Marina Coast Water District was paying for work on the Regional Desalination Project. Allegations were made and appeared in the press that Marina Coast Water District was involved in making payments to the contractor that were for work performed by Mr. Collins. It is still unclear whether or not the Marina Coast Water District or any of its employees or board members have any legal liability related to the Steve Collins alleged conflict of interest issue. However, it does looks like either a serious ethical lapse or serious incompetence to pay invoices from a contractor that contained significant amounts of money ($180,000) to be paid to Mr. Collins while he served on the Board of the Monterey County Water Resources Agency, a partner in the Regional Desalination Project. The MCWD Board of Directors should have thoroughly investigated this issue when it first arose and should have taken appropriate corrective action. Unfortunately it appears that the District did too little, too late in this regard -- the conflict of interest issue was one reason for the failure of the Regional Desalination Project.
Sufficient Water Supply: Unlike the California-American Water Company service area on the Monterey Peninsula, Marina Coast Water District (MCWD), serving Marina and the Ord Community, have been blessed with access to water from the Salinas Valley Groundwater Basin. While this Basin currently faces a number of challenges, it presently serves us with a sufficient quantity of inexpensive water. Our District continues to help the Monterey County Water Resources Agency address the basin challenges that exist.
Growth is a Challenge: In the past, the land use jurisdictions in Monterey County enabled population growth at a rapid pace. This inevitably increased the demand for water from the Salinas Valley Groundwater Basin and from adjoining areas such as the Carmel River and Seaside water basin. These increased demands have led to some damage to these water sources. Local water agencies such as Marina Coast Water District (MCWD) have responded to these problems by increasing investments in conservation and looking to develop new sources of water. The Marina Coast Water District (MCWD) has been particularly proactive in this regard: it built the first publicly owned ocean water desalination plant on the Central Coast and one of the first tertiary wastewater treatment plants in the region. There is a certified EIR that covers a project to deliver desalinated and reclaimed water to the Ord Community. The District was also a partner in the Regional Desalination project that failed in the past year. Now MCWD ratepayers may be unable to recover millions of dollars already spent on this project and the California-American Water Company service area on the Monterey Peninsula could be in serious trouble in just a few years.
New Sources of Water: All the projects to develop new sources of water have two common characteristics:
- They are expensive.
- They are legally, technically, environmentally and politically complex.
When choosing your Board Directors for the Marina Coast Water District (MCWD), you should select candidates who will represent your interests while navigating these complex financial, legal, technical, environmental and political issues in a responsible, mature, collaborative way. You should also choose MCWD Board Directors who can develop good relations with other agencies and cities on the Monterey Peninsula.
If you would like to support this website and/or my election campaign, please fill out the following form and return it to Tom Moore for MCWD Board 2012, 3235 Isla del Sol Way, Marina, CA 93933-4321:
1. How will the proposed Regional Desalination Project affect the citizens of Marina and the Ord Community? While this project, as proposed (as a three-way contract between the MCWD, California American Water and the Monterey County Water Resources Agency), appears to be dead, it still is likely to affect ratepayers in the Ord Community and possibly Central Marina too. The MCWD fronted millions of dollars trying to make this project work and it's unclear how much of that money MCWD will get back. MCWD has submitted claims against Cal Am and the County for the return of this money, but this is just the first step in what is likely to be a long and costly series of lawsuits. When the dust finally settles in court several years from now, MCWD may unfortunately still be out several million dollars.
If the project had been built as envisioned, it would have a small net benefit for ratepayers in Central Marina and the Ord Community. The main benefit for all MCWD ratepayers would have been that some overhead costs would have been shared over a larger group of customers. For example, a portion of the cost of owning and maintaining MCWD's main administrative building (which is used for nearly all meetings, including some meetings concerning the proposed desalination project) could legitimately be included in the cost of desalinated water. This cost sharing feature would also benefit the Ord Community ratepayers. In addition, the Ord Community would eventually benefit by having access to more than 1,000 acre-feet of water per year from the desalination plant. The Ord Community will need this desalinated water once its groundwater allocation of 6,600 AFY is used up at some time in the next 30-40 years.
The Cal-Am ratepayers would have benefited by having access to water to replace the water that the state has ordered them to stop taking from the Carmel River. While this project would have significantly increased their water bills, all other alternatives are even more expensive. Furthermore, it appears that none of the alternative can be completed in time to avoid very significant mandated cutback in water use on the Monterey Peninsula south of the former Fort Ord. This could seriously damage the tourist industry that the Monterey Peninsula depends upon so much.
2. I live on the former Fort Ord - why am I not allowed to vote for members of the board of directors of the Marina Coast Water District? The Marina Coast Water District (MCWD) was formed before the City of Marina existed, but during the time when Fort Ord was an active Army base. The legal boundaries of the Marina Coast Water District (MCWD) stop at the northern boundary of the Army base. When the Marina Coast Water District (MCWD) took over responsibility for the water and wastewater systems on the closed Fort Ord Army base, it first did so under an operation and maintenance contract with the Army and later under a contract with the Fort Ord Reuse Authority. From a legal standpoint, the Fort Ord Reuse Authority represents your interests in water and wastewater issues through its control of the contract with the Marina Coast Water District (MCWD).
In order for you to be able to vote for members of the MCWD board of directors, the legal boundaries of the Marina Coast Water District would have to be expanded to encompass your residence. This is a process called annexation and it ultimately requires the approval of the Monterey County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO). In conjunction with the land use jurisdictions on the Ord Community, the MCWD board of directors has been studying this annexation issue for the past two years . Since this involves a change in MCWD's political boundaries that will affect eight different political bodies, it is no surprise that the process is moving slowly. However, progress is being made and LAFCO intends to take a preliminary look at the issue some time in the winter of 2011. Furthermore, there is a real legal deadline involved -- if the Fort Ord Reuse Authority sunsets as scheduled in 2014, then something will have to takes it's place in granting MCWD the legal authority to continue to provide service to the Ord Community. Annexation can be that "something," although there are other, perhaps less palatable, options.
3. Why are the water rates different in central Marina and the Ord Community? When the Marina Coast Water District (MCWD) and the Fort Ord Reuse Authority (FORA) made the agreement under which MCWD provides service to the Ord Community, FORA wanted to be sure that revenues generated by Ord Community ratepayers would remain in the Ord Community. Similarly, MCWD wanted to be sure that revenues generated by central Marina ratepayers would remain in central Marina. Thus the agreement calls for the revenues and costs of the Ord Community to be kept separate from the revenues and costs of central Marina. We refer to this as maintaining separate cost centers, although it really means that both revenues and costs for each area are kept in separate accounts. Please note that both the Ord Community and central Marina save money by splitting certain overhead costs. For instance, we have one General Manager, one laboratory, one finance officer, one Board Secretary, etc. The costs of these employees, buildings, equipment, etc. are split between the Ord Community and central Marina, saving money for both areas.
4. Why are the sewer rates so high in the Ord Community? When the Marina Coast Water District took over the wastewater collection system on the former Fort Ord, much of the underground piping and pump stations were already old and had not been very much used since 1991 when the base was closed by the Army. Wastewater collection systems that are made from metal piping and are only lightly used for long periods of time tend to corrode much more rapidly than normal. So the District inherited 70+ miles of old, corroding wastewater collection piping and other sewer related facilities. Much of this infrastructure has had to be replaced, moved and/or re-built. In addition, the new development taking place in the Ord Community is scattered around the former Army base. So while the developers are paying for the new wastewater infrastructure within their respective development footprints, the rest of the Ord Community has, so far, had to bear the cost of upgrading and maintaining the connections between these scattered developments.
5. I've heard that the developers on the former Fort Ord don't have to pay any capacity fees to the MCWD to build there. Is this true? No. A capacity fee is a charge to allow someone to buy into a water service that already exists. This fee consists of two parts:
a buy-in to the existing system to "catch them up" with the contributions that existing customers have made to the capital cost of the system; and
a fee that is calculated based on any expansion of the system that is caused by the building of the new development.
A capacity fee is the usual way that water districts throughout the United States obtain the funds necessary to pay for system expansion and ensure equity between new customers and existing customers. The current capacity fee for new homes built in Central Marina this year is $9,400 per home.
When the MCWD first began providing service to the Ord Community under it's contract with FORA, they would not let MCWD establish developer paid capacity fees. FORA was so concerned about the costs associated with removing old Army buildings and cleaning up the redevelopment sites that they insisted that MCWD have no developer paid capacity fees. However, a few years ago, the MCWD finally convinced FORA to approve some developer paid capacity charges for new homes built in the Ord Community. This charges stand today at $7,900 per equivalent dwelling unit (essentially a single family home). However, financial consultants to MCWD tell us that this amount is only a partial capacity charge and that the real such charge should be more than $10,000. This is the reason that new ratepayers on the former Fort Ord will also have to pay a $25 per month surcharge on their MCWD bill that existing Ord Community ratepayers do not have to pay. Finally, it should be noted that the downturn in the economy has had and may continue to have a significant affect on the redevelopment of the Ord Community. The pace and location of future development on the former Fort Ord will certainly have some sort of effect upon developer paid capacity fees there.
If you are interested in obtaining electronic copies of MCWD agendas, complete Board packets and/or minutes of past meetings you can find them here.
Paid for by Tom Moore for MCWD Board 2012, FPPC #1330405