Veolia Water Workshop Round 2

CIP

On our city council update we left you hanging because TAB 7 was pushed off until the next council meeting so that it could be addressed at the Water Workshop tonight. Veolia apparently took on a contract they can’t deliver.

 

TAB 7 from the last council meeting is Veolia was required to provide 4000 meters at a cost of $460,000 water meters, but because they failed to check the contract they only want to provide 1600 meters at a cost of $390.000 why can Veolia pick and choose what part of the contract they can follow? Do the residents have the option of when to pay their bills?

 

What is this contract and what is this workshop for tonight? Veolia agreed to take over water and waste water services for the next 30 years and were tasked with conducting a major infrastructure overhaul of the city’s water delivery system and waste water removal system. They have already and will continue to levy major rate increases on Rialto Water customers and they have paid $40 million dollars to the city of Rialto for this utility take over. What they did is take your money and make excuses for being behind by 1-2 years on many projects because they claim that American Water (the cities first choice for a water servicer) wrote a bad contract that can’t be delivered on the originally agreed terms.

 

Veolia isn’t new to Rialto they have been around working with our waste water services for years. So they can’t claim ignorance to how Rialto is structured or set up. There are two major issues with the delay one is Rialto Water Services customers are already one full year into a four year rate increase schedule. Two if this process is delayed too long the interest rates on the loan that was taken out to make the capital improvements will eat into the money needed to afford these projects. Back in June at the first workshop Veolia upper management was asked by Councilman O’Connell in the meeting if they would cover this gap if the situation arose and they said NO.

 

Back at the first Water Workshop in June the city council found out that Veolia has been hiding behind a lame excuse of we didn’t write this contract. The community’s response to that is you signed it before reading it? What Veolia saw was an opportunity to take the rate payers for a ride and leave us with no other recourse. This contract was written in a way that city hall has thrown its hands in the air saying were stuck!!!!!!!

 

Anyone watching the news and all the problems with Los Angeles’s DWP is having with blown water lines knows that’s not where we want to be. The problem is everyone is acting like they are powerless to make Veolia do their job. Ironically a week after the first water workshop in June the city experienced a sewer back up that spilled into the streets. What is more irritating is that the Capital Improvement Projects not being completed and the massive rate increases is not the end of the problems with Veolia. Here is a short list:

  • Water meters are not being read they are being estimated. This means you are not likely to see any change in your water bill even though you’re cutting back on water usage.
  • Horrible customer service. Veolia doesn’t seem to have a customer service supervisor Monday thru Friday because when they mess up your bill you have to wait weeks to receive a call back if you receive one at all.
  • Lagging on processing payments. Veolia is slow to check the collection bin at the city of Rialto Civic Center and processes payments very slowly; you will get a late fee.
  • Horrible water pressure. Since Veolia has taken over Rialto Water Services customers have noticed a major drop in water pressure.

 

Now is the time to get involved and engage. This is an election year and was in the thick of it. Now is the time to demand action and we have some resources for you.

 

You can Send us a Letter to the Editor to be published here to rialtonow@gmail.com

 

You can email Leslie Parrilla with the San Bernardino Sun at leslie.parrilla@langnews.com

 

Contact Councilmember O’Connell shawn4rialto@hotmail.com

 

Contact Councilmember Hitrz danslmc@hotmail.com

 

City Council Re-Cap

Hello Rialto Now readers hope everyone is doing well as we close out September and move into October. Our last council meeting had some high points and low points. First let’s start with the high points.

High points came in the beginning of the meeting when Rialto PD displayed the Rialto PD Breast Cancer patch that officers will be sporting on both their shoulders. The design and implementation of this patch was funded from donated work and money meaning no tax payer money was used for this program. You can buy one of these patches for yourself and the proceeds go to a charity called Michelle’s Place http://www.michellesplace.org a Breast Cancer Resource Center. Find the Pictures below for an example of the patch and how you can purchase your patch.

pink patch image

 

 

 
pink patch picture

 

Another high point was the celebration of a well-known business and their 30 years in operation here in Rialto. Brothers Pizza is the best pizza joint around and that has to be attributed to the details that Maria and her staff put into every meal they produce. Brother’s pizza may have moved around the city having three different store fronts in 30 years but they never left Rialto. Below is a picture of Maria at the meeting next time you’re in congratulating them on all their success.

Brothers pizza

Now onto the Low Points, it began with TAB 1 when on the face it looked like the city was allocating money to a street widening project harmless right? Wrong TAB 1 was a attempt to take money from existing projects to funnel those monies into the Bud Bender Park rehab project. The money grabs consisted of:

  • Taking money from the painting of the community center project.
  • Taking money already allocated from CBG monies for the Maple street widening project.
  • Money left over from a community block grant that didn’t meet the council’s targeted goals for this year.

 

Councilman Joe Baca Jr. appeared to be the driving force behind this money shuffle and his colleges were not on his side. June Hayes, David Phillips & Parks & Rec Commissioner Joe Britt all spoke out on this issue. Councilman Baca kept referring back to major safety issues at the park and even stated that the park was not safe and full of criminal activity resided there. Two million dollars of CBG money has already been allocated for this project. David Phillips gave the council the live within your means speech and it worked because council moved to keep everything the way it was and look at ways to stretch the money and make the park safe. It’s just sad that we still have some that are trying to do a back door shuffle of money but it was nice to have Council Members like Shawn O’Connell & Lynn Hirtz that have the cities best in mind.

 

The next low point was TAB 2 which was Client First the cities IT company looking for the last year extension on their contract and to add a $14,000 a month project manager to the contract brining the third year just over $500,000 for IT services. The first issue was with the services the company was providing. This was in reference to lost content on the city website, lost emails for city officials and the complication of getting information to the general public. City council did extend their contract for the last year but didn’t take on their project manager. Instead they directed George Harris to put out an RFP and look for an outside project manager that is separate from Client First.

 

The last low point of the evening was city councils decision to change the Renaissance plan from a beautiful residential/retail/community center area to a big collection of Industrial buildings. So city council sold away your water company, jacked up your rates, shut down one of the last airport hubs in the region all to build more warehouse space and drown the city in truck traffic. If you would like to know what the north end of rialto will look like just drive down cherry and see what it looks like at Cherry & Valley. As it is now the trucks are unsafe they run lights and drive way to fast and it seems we are powerless to stop them. This is one low point with no upside.