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Cambria resends water rates to the community 

The Cambria community can once again check their mailboxes for a Proposition 218 notice about proposed water rate increase. The first mailer contained noticing errors, a mistake that some community members blame on the Cambria Community Services District's general manager.

The initial notice, mailed out on July 13, failed to specify whether the three rates could be protested individually.

At a special meeting on Aug. 1, the district also learned that not all homeowners or customers received a notice in the mail.

click to enlarge FLOODED WITH CONFUSION The confusion of a water rate mailer has put a damper on the community's confidence in the Cambria Community Services District. - FILE PHOTO BY JAYSON MELLOM
  • File Photo By Jayson Mellom
  • FLOODED WITH CONFUSION The confusion of a water rate mailer has put a damper on the community's confidence in the Cambria Community Services District.

During public comment, resident Sherri Bell said that Cambria CSD General Manager Jerry Gruber had mentioned at a July 12 meeting that he had "done his homework and was ready to go on his end."

"Not a real confidence booster for Cambrians who expect sound financial management practices of the person in charge with managing our multi-million dollar and growing CCSD budget," Bell said. "This is not the first time he neglected his homework; Cambrians have paid dearly for his actions, inactions, and missteps. Is there any wonder why a Prop. 218 protest is being mounted?"

According to the general manager's report, sending out the revised notices will cost anywhere in between $2,000 and $4,500.

Gruber did not reply to New Times' request for comment before press time.

District board member Harry Farmer said he agreed with the public's concerns but hoped they understood the board's overall efforts.

"Obviously there is past history here where there is not a tremendous amount of trust with regard to how the district management and the board operate, so we're trying to kind of turn the aircraft carrier out there in an ocean of molasses," Farmer said at the special meeting.

Currently, residents pay a $13.79 monthly charge for water that could increase to $15.86 in November 2018, $17.45 in July 2019, and $18.32 in July 2020. They pay a sustainable water facility charge of $6.50 that could increase to $7.93 in November 2018, $9.04 in July 2019, and $10.13 in July 2020. The sewer payment would go up from $30.29 to $35.74 in November 2018, $41.10 in July 2019, and $46.03 in July 2020.

The funds from the proposed rates would go toward operating and maintaining the CCSD's water, sustainable water facility, and sewer systems. This includes costs for repairing and replacing aging infrastructure—such as improvements that the sustainable water facility needs in order to comply with regulatory requirements.

Community members who submitted a protest form for the previous Proposition 218 notice must resubmit their protest letter. Letters submitted before the new mailers were sent out on Aug. 17 will not be counted. Protest forms can be found online at the district website or at the district office.

On Aug. 22 district President Amanda Rice posted on the Facebook group Cambria Open Forum, saying that virtual protests would not be counted. The new Proposition 218 hearing date is slated for Oct. 4. Δ

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