Public Workshop regarding the Utility Users Tax

Hello Rialto Now readers there is a workshop we need to attend our very TAX DOLLARS depend on it.

merchantcircle.com

Five Years ago the city put a Utility Users Tax on the Ballot it was sold as a way to pay for Police and Fire supplies, services and Equipment we thought exclusively. Now looking back it was thrown into the general fund and used a revenue source to keep the city afloat. I am very proud of you Rialto residents for showing the city council that lies and using the fact that we like our fire and police services as tax hostages with measure “V”. Sadly though because we told them with our vote on measure “V” to be honest with us and stop lying they are floating the idea of raising the Utility Users Tax.

Now the Utility Users Tax expires in June 2013. City Council is holding this workshop to get your opinions as well as hopefully show what services will need to be cut and personnel we will lose if its not extended. Another reason to hold the workshop is to float increasing the rate to as much as 15% up from 8%. At 8% they bring in just over $11 million they were banking on measure “V” bringing in about $5 million the amount we are short year to year.

What happens from here:

  1. Workshop to get the cities temp on an increase or leaving it the same, showing the cuts that will be made if the tax isn’t extended and talk of impending bankruptcy if it fails.
  2. The results will be tabulated together and city staff will make a recommendation to the council on a direction to proceed at the November 27th council meeting. Be advised this council meeting is just as important as the workshop, why? Because the decision to reinstate the tax and put the issue on a special election ballot in March must be made in November. If the decision isn’t made in November and unanimous the tax will end and the city will be scrambling to find ways to pay its obligations.

I hate taxes more than life itself, we never seem to get real representation in our government and the unions have the elected officials ears so we are unheard. We also pay the highest taxes across the board here in California and these taxes crush the hard working middle class as well as chase away the wealthy job creators to other more business friendly states.

With that being said I will vote for the extension of the Utility Users Tax but only at 8% and only if the city doesn’t lie to get the tax passed just tell us what you need!!!!!!!!

Finally please contact Mr. Joe Baca Jr. and let him know it’s important that he does his job as a Rialto City Council Member and attend Tuesday’s workshop. He ran for this office now he must take time out of his schedule to work through this issue together.

Below is the information on the workshop:

Utility Users Tax Workshop

The City of Rialto is conducting a Public Workshop to receive updated information regarding the Utility Users Tax. The Workshop will take place at 6:00 pm on November 20th at the Civic Center 150 So. Palm Ave.

http://www.ci.rialto.ca.us/gov_5913.php

Council Meeting Re-cap Part 2

Last night we covered the massive tax grab that is before Rialto voters this next year (2013).

Well let’s ease your fears not everything I saw last night before leaving at 8pm was bad. They are moving along with some great projects that will bring commerce to the city of Rialto.

We saw the intern class of 2012 and it looked like a good group of educated young men and women looking to make their mark on city government. The program’s goal is to increase young people desire to enter working for a city.

City Staff Introduced the Intern Class of 2012

First off they are helping Target move forward smoothly on the construction of its massive cold storage facility they are building on Alder and Easton up by the 210 freeway. This cold storage facility will handle all distribution of all cold storage items for the entire west coast. Target has a great grocery program and great deals and this facility will be busy and create tons of new jobs in the Rialto area.

Second is the best news of all In & Out project is underway.

It seems the city finally understands that we want this fast food restaurant like YESTERDAY. The cities contractors are working on providing the In & Out Contractors a working useable pad. This means that the parking and egress will be complete then In & Out says it can complete the building in 180 days (150 days of construction 30 day grace period). Below is a picture of the stats provided by Robb Steel.

Picture shows money and time frames

Finally the moratorium on Cash For Gold businesses was extended for a year to allow city staff and police personnel develop working guide lines for these types of businesses. At the last coffee with the chief we were informed by Chief Farrar that an investigation was done and found that the existing Cash For Gold businesses were buying Gold that was stolen and not asking for ID then just sending it off to be melted and sold. For this reason the Moratorium was originally put in place to keep thefts from rising even higher and more of these places pop up. Let me begin by saying our Chief of police and his officers don’t just accuse you of doing something they get proof and then catch you doing the crime or wrongful act. So while this TAB item was being discussed Ed Palmer and Ed Scott said they visited 2 of these businesses and saw them doing everything right and wanted to make sure they were brought in on the formulation of the new guide lines so to be given a fair shot at complying with these new rules. These two almost went as far to say that this seemed like a witch hunt on reputable businesses that have done nothing wrong. That’s funny Chief Farrar pointed out all three as the ones buying stolen gold without taking the proper ID techniques.

Then the most irritating portion of the two hours I saw (besides the massive tax grab) was when someone asked if these new rules would apply to door to door Gold Buyers? Then Mayor Vargas said yes I had someone come to my door and ask if I had gold I wanted to sell, after those two homes on my street were broken into. She wasn’t sure if the two incidents were connected but had concerns. Then one of the council members said oh Grace is referring to people passing out flyers for Gold buying businesses and that people didn’t buy gold as an independent buy without a shop. It showed the ignorance of the people leading our city. As a security guard for a shopping mall we were kicking independent gold buyers out of the mall all the time. They would both hover around the Cash for gold stores and kiosks and tell people that the price they were being offered was to low and try and steal the sale, or hit up people eating in the food court. People like these do exist; they are aggressive and can be very underhanded. They carry a small jeweler’s magnifying glass and sometimes a small chemical test kit. If someone like this approaches your home inform the police and then send them down to council chambers to educate the city council and staff.

First Council Meeting Since the October Election Blackout

Seems like we should have had those meetings in October after all.

Because no City Council Meetings were held in October due to the Election we had a stacked calendar tonight.

They had the Utility Users Tax on the end of the agenda and choose to address that TAB item first. What that TAB item was for was city staff laying out the ground work for the workshop that will be held November 20th. What seemed the hardest was getting the council on board to attend the workshop, the biggest problem maker was Joe Baca Jr. I’m not sure if he was still licking his wounds from November 6th or if he really only cares about parks and that’s it but he had a scheduling conflict with that day and refused to adjust his schedule.

What the UUT (Utility Users Tax) is the 8% tax on all the utilities you use in the city of Rialto and amounts to a little more than 11 million dollars for the general fund. The way it was sold 5 years ago was a tax to help pay for Police and Fire operations looking back it was probably sold the same way Measure “V” was if you don’t vote for this the police and fire will suffer. I was young and not living in the city back then so I was listening to what my parents, in laws & friends were telling me about the UUT.

What’s scary now is they began floating the idea of raising the percentage to as high as 12% as a way to punish voters for not falling for their lies with Measure “V”. I don’t like this tax but if they are straight with the community and don’t raise the percentage because it means such a big piece of the general fund.

What also was annoying was the fact that things are changing with the sale of Rialto’s water and waste water systems to Viola and West Valley Water. The deal was for 30 million dollars, tonight it was brought up that there is an additional 5 Million the city can borrow, that we have to pay back. There was talk of your 100 percent increase in rates over 4 years would be more if they borrowed that money.

City Staff brought up bringing back the Per’s Tax. I’m not familiar with this tax but Council was scared to death of another lawsuit from our friends the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. Apparently Howard Jarvis stopped Rialto from doing this long ago. If they bring it back and Jon Coupal wants to sue on a residents behalf I will be first in line.

Everyone kept saying we don’t want to raise taxes then talked about a new way to tax the community. Also Transparency is the buzz word right now all of the Council People want to provide it even though they have been hiding things from us for years. Even June Hayes RUA Committee member was blown away by the new talk of 5 million in available borrowed money.

Ed Scott tried to equate the 5 million to a homeowner who buys a house then finds out they qualify for more money and takes it. A homeowner can only take more money if the value of the house meets the desired loan amount. Also its not free money it does raise the interest and principle monthly payment.

So 5 million is what percent of 130 million its 3.84 percent almost a filth of the entire loan and when your talking millions that’s not chump change.

So lets re-cap:

*Water and Waste Water rates will go up for the next four years.

*Rialto wants you to possibly pay 12% on your UUT (up from 8%).

*Rialto pays 8-10 cents more per gallon than cities like San Bernardino that have higher sales tax than Rialto.

*Late fees were increased largely in part to Mr. Everyone Else Is Doing It Why Not Us.

So what should we do?

First off plan on being at the UUT Workshop on 11-20-12 at 6pm.

Second call, email and ask him in person if given the opportunity. Him I mean Joe Baca Jr. who for some reason refuses to attend the UUT workshop on 11-20-12 he claims to have plans. So do I Mr. Baca my parents will be in that week from out of state yet I will be there and I am not a paid member of the city of Rialto just a concerned resident.

Joe Baca Jr.

Email: Bacaj@rialtoca.gov

Phone: 909-820-2525

Second attend the Council Meeting on 11-27-12 because there they will make the final vote to officially sell off the water and waste water, vote on whether to put the UUT on the ballot in March and at what percent and its the last day for Ed Scott, Mayor Grace Vargas and Deborah Robertson’s last day as a council member so there may be some interesting exchanges at this meeting.

Tomarrow I will Re-cap the rest of what I stayed for.

 

Election Propectives Rialto Mayor Race

Mayor – Vote for 1

We are supporting:

Deborah Robertson

This selection was a difficult one for me because I’m not really happy with anyone sitting on the council right now. On top of that I go against the Union of some of the bravest people in this city our Rialto Police Officers. The reason I choose Deborah Robertson is:

  • Extreme change on our council with a win for her it opens up another council seat.
  • My focus on youth in our city government.
  • Her ability to vote on any agenda item without a conflict of interest (her challenger cannot vote on anything in downtown because of his interest there).
  • Using this job as a way to show Deborah it’s make it or break it time.
  • Deborah stepped up for Flores Park Neighborhood Watch and helped us with issues when the rest of council sat by and did nothing.
  • Deborah understands the danger of the way our public employee pensions are currently formed. She knows to keep our city functional and above water we must change our pension costs.

Most voter guides begin with the BIG TIME regional elections then work down to the local stuff, if you haven’t noticed were a little different.

Also be advised “NONE OF THESE ENDORSEMENTS HAVE COME AT ANY FINACIAL GAIN TO THIS BLOG OR ANYONE DIRECTLY CONECTED TO THIS BLOG”

We put out feelers to people running in local elections to obtain the information they feel you should know about them but we have nothing more to gain that passing along our advice and opinion to people on this monster election. We get our reward from having knowledgeable readers that are energized and ready to cast their ballots.

We will post a different candidate race, Proposition Selection and City and County measures each day until the November 6th Election.

Tomorrow we highlight Rialto’s tax increase Measure “V”

 

 

RIALTO AIRPORT: Move to San Bernardino advances or miss-use of Water Sale Money

Below you will find a story from the Press Enterprise Newspaper. The articles purpose is to highlight the work moving forward at the San Bernardino Airport with the closing of the Rialto Airport. We were told that the $30 Million the city would secure by selling off our water for 30 years and raising our rates over four years by more than 100% was going to go to allow the city to afford the types of upgrades necessary when your developing land where there isn’t drainage, adequate streets for expected traffic along with street lights and signals. Reading below at first sight you think your reading about the continued relocation of the airport to move forward with its closure, but that’s not the case to those of us who still fight against this evil deal.

The following was never made clear to the public:

  1. Anything about the bulk of land sales going to the San Bernardino Airport for relocation costs.
  2. That now that the land is worthless and not desired by anyone, the city made another bad deal on our behalf to give away the supposed Capital Development money obtained from the bad water deal.

What makes the water deal and now the Airport Closure stink are:

  1. Closing of the Airport puts our own Helicopter program in jeopardy. We will have to take our own helicopter to another Airport creating an unnecessary delay in response time (which newspaper article will we find tells us where our helicopter will be based since the city hates telling the community what they are doing).
  2. $30 Million isn’t allot of money when it comes to large development. If a BULK of the money must go to San Bernardino what money is left for all the BUSINESS they think they can attract to come to RIALTO?
  3. Why wont the city tell us all the people connected to the city who will make millions at Rialto Rate Payers Expense.
  4. The statement from Councilman and Mayor Candidate ED SCOTT that the settlement money from the perchlorate cases wont be enough to repay Rialto businesses who paid perchlorate fees for years right along with Rialto residents. So Ed Scott wants us to promote him to Mayor and trust him with the responsibility of attracting new business to the city. He has his hands super dirty in being on the committee that hired failed Superior for graffiti removal services, being a council member that still likes and wants American Water as the servicer of Rialto’s failed water deal and calls the police and makes false accusations against Rialto Residents because he doesn’t like what they say.
  5. Target, Super Wal-Mart and In & Out are the three projects on tap for the $30 million, if we have to give most of that money to San Bernardino how will any of these projects happen?

Read the article below, then email your council members and city administrator and ask them to finally be honest with us!!!!!

 

Little activity goes on at Rialto Airport these days. The last few tenants could find a new home at San Bernardino International Airport.

Seven years after an act of Congress ordered Rialto Municipal Airport closed, the effort to shift tenants to San Bernardino International Airport took a small step on Wednesday, Sept. 12.

The San Bernardino International Airport Authority awarded contracts worth up to $1.8 million combined for the design of hangars that will serve private pilots and the San Bernardino County sheriff’s aviation operation.

TR Design Group, a Riverside-based company that built a city call center at Riverside Municipal Airport as well as structures near March Air Reserve Base, was awarded up to $902,720 to develop plans, including architectural and engineering, for the sheriff’s hangar.

An $868,500 contract went to Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc. for design work and oversight of the eventual construction of amenities for private pilots and their planes that would be relocated from Rialto to San Bernardino’s 32-acre site.

Funding will come from the authority’s related Inland Valley Development Agency. The agency has so far received approval from the state’s Department of Finance to use bond revenue for the new hangars and amenities. State law dissolved redevelopment agencies earlier this year and forced them to seek approval from the finance department when they want to spend property tax revenue on unfinished redevelopment projects.

The IVDA has estimated it could cost $9.55 million to build the sheriff’s hangar, according to the list of financial obligations approved by the state. The general aviation improvements could cost nearly $7 million.

In 2005, Congress made the rare move to close Rialto Airport because the city — the airport’s owner — wanted to see the land developed with homes, retail and other improvements. A large portion of the money earned from selling the land was supposed to have gone to the San Bernardino airport to create space for the tenants forced to move. But the economy soured, land values plummeted, and no land was sold or developed. Tenants still pay rent month-to-month at Rialto Airport, where weeds are visible sprouting from the runway.

Recently, the city of Rialto approved a complicated deal to contract out its water management in order to earn money to reimburse San Bernardino airport for a portion of the costs.

Rialto Airport, which has been further tangled in uncertainty because of the dissolution of the city’s redevelopment agency, is expected to close by 2014, said Chad Merrill, project manager for the IVDA and San Bernardino airport.

Were not the only ones smelling coruption

Let’s start with some awesome news we have the attention of more than just or city council we have senators and senators of the future, financial advisors and Dr. Imran Farooq.

Mr. Farooq is a partner at:

The Omnius Group – The Omnius Group specializes in comprehensive economic development to dynamically integrate public and private sectors. Our experience includes real estate development, commercial finance, green technologies, workforce development and extensive relationships across local, state and federal agencies. Our objective is to pursue projects that incorporate economic, social and environmental value in the local communities.

http://www.facebook.com/DrIFarooq

His preliminary advice is to look at:

Is it possible to propose exemptions to rate increases depending on household incomes? This might be a way to protect the most vulnerable in the community but still facilitate the deemed ‘necessary’ upgrades.

Now we were sent an interesting piece of news. The article below is about the failure of American Water to secure the contract with the City of Rialto. I find it interesting that in the press release they (RWS) claim they decided to sever ties with American Water, but here it looks like American Water was the one cutting the ties. Insiders have told me that the cities decision to ignore the residents desire to put the outsourcing issue to a vote in November gave American Water an uneasy feeling about moving forward. The city attorney’s bad advice to the council now looks like a failed political move.

You see they didn’t put the issue on the ballot for a ton of reasons:

  • They don’t want to know what you think, at least the Eds and the city attorney. Call them sometime and try asking questions they will try everything in their power to shove you off they just want to make their money.
  • They know it’s an election year with a presidential election which means more people at the polls.
  • Putting the issue on the ballot would remove their ability to say that most of the people want this deal.
  • The city wants to have a stock pile of money to dip into to bring us “Development”. What happens once the $30 Million is gone and spent? How then will you bring us the economic development we desire?
  • The city tried to hide from their bad decision by saying it was a union issue not a community issue, let alone I saw hundreds of residents getting petitions signed the union got what they wanted and left, the residents are still here and a few of us refuse to stop fighting.
  • Lastly, from the looks of the words of American Water’s CEO American Water walked away. So the city took what they thought would remain secret and tell us we (Council) have decided to remove American Water from the deal and not change the deal just the players right before an election. They didn’t hear us if they did they would have started from the ground up and better involve the community and find ways to protect residents that are elderly, poor and struggling.

Also if this deal is to bring Development to our city can someone explain the consequences of their miss-direction and lies as seen at the bottom of this article from the Public Works Newsletter:

 

The deal called for American Water to be paid $26.5 million a year to run the system and cover certain maintenance expenses – but not counting the automatic price escalator each year. Multiply that out 30 years – and that’s just for the O&M, which of course must be covered by sufficient revenues from the ratepayers, on top of covering the financing for the improvements, the $30 million “catch up lease payment” to the City, refinancing existing RUA debt (at much higher interest rates), etc.

When I asked Megan Madsen from Table Rock Financial about the built in profit guarantee that was there for American Water she said she had no idea what I was talking about. So when information I stumbled across leads one to believe there is more than they are telling us. Does anyone know that 27.4 million is going toward refinancing existing debt?

 

No one will tell us the rates they are financing at or why it nessicary to add such a massive amount of debt to something that’s tied to our WATER & WASTE WATER systems. On financial person told me that depending on how the loan is structured it may very well hurt more than help if the city ever found its self in the same situation as our neighbor San Bernardino. I have been told we will be in deficit spending this next fiscal year in the realm of $5 million dollars.

We need to be wiser to WHO is sitting on certain sub communities when it comes to dealings with contracting out services.

 

NATIONAL NIGHT OUT TUESDAY, 8/7/12.
DOWNTOWN 5 – 8:30 PM.

Yes its that time of year again, time for National Night Out. This event is an annual event created to foster community awareness. Target, Rialto PD, Cardenas Markets and many more have teamed up to bring this event to Downtown Rialto again.

There will be tons of:
Vendors
Entertainment
Food
And

Demos from our wonderful Rialto Police Department.

This is a FREE event that draws people from all over the city. Its a time to get out and be around fellow citizens and have a good time.

Click the link below and Join the event group to be kept up to date on all the developments.

http://www.facebook.com/events/430826046967978/

City Council Has Some Explaining to do Over the Water Deal

I want to begin this post by telling you that people in council think you’re in love with the water deal since they moved from American Water to more local control. They claim that I am the only one upset and asking questions on all the money changing hands and the great secrecy that has gone into drafting this deal. I would invite everyone to email and call their council and Mayor and tell them good or bad what you think of this deal and whether you believe there needs to be more transparency. I will include the contact info for everyone in city government so that you may more easily reach them.
I was contacted a couple of weeks by someone telling me that American Water is still in the deal with the city of Rialto. This person thought it might be something worth looking into, so I did. What I found wasn’t where my caller expected me to end up but I find it all the more interesting.
It appears that Rialto Water Services (RWS) and American Water are in the same region and RWS was formed about the time American Water began its move on the city’s water system. Although from all my research and digging, so far it looks like American Water is out of the deal, but what I did find stinks from where I sit.
I called American Water and spoke to Maureen Duffy Vice President, Corporate Communications and External Affairs she said that American Water had been removed and she couldn’t speak to any ensuing penalties from this action. Which is funny because we heard there were penalties even if the community voted against the rate increases with prop 218 vote.
Officials from West Valley Water District (WVWD) are not jumping at the chance to take the contract because of all the financial implications that reside there. No one wants to take on this deal that is full of bad looks and dirty dealings. After some digging we find why WVWD is leery.
I placed a call to West Valley Water District and spoke to Mr. Ariza their General Manager:
West Valley Water District is looking to operate the city’s water department. The person controlling the financial side of the deal is Table Rock Financial based out of San Francisco. The total deal is now a 170 million dollar loan, up from 130 million dollars. Who has heard what the 30 million dollars is purposed for? According to Mr. Ariza the 30 million dollars is needed to service the debt on the 170 million dollar loan the city is taking out with Goldman Sachs. So instead of it being a way to replace the loss of our RDA and attract new business to Rialto, here is what it is going for:
  1. Service the Debt on 170 Million Dollar loan.
  2. Give the city a way to have money on deck in a capital     improvement fund so they can further pay for development costs that should     be the responsibility of the developer.
  3. Ed Scott made a point to ask     staff if the Lytle Creek Development was in any way involved in the     necessity of the water deal, staff said NO. So explain who is going to pay     the 5 million dollars in needed improvements to existing county properties     within the city when we have no more money to give? Maybe the 30 million     payoff in the water deal? Ron Pharrise and the city both have a strong     vested interest in this deal happening because the county won’t allow     Rialto to annex the county parts of Lytle Creek to the city without taking     over the rest of the County areas in the city. City staff estimated that     this would cost in the realm of 5 million.
  4. Rialto paid 40-50 million     fighting the perchlorate cloud contaminate in our water. No more talks     have happened on where the settlement is or who is going to get it.
Also the way Mr. Ariza said it breaks down is:
  1. 40 million for the     infrastructure upgrades to water and waste water.
  2. 30 million for RDA funds/capital improvement funds.
That leaves 100 million dollars left over where is that going? There is a company called Table Rock financial that is BROKERING the deal, their company web site is super basic, they operate out of San Francisco and no one answers their phones and there is no voice mail. I was able to get someone on city staff to give me the lead negotiators cell phone number Lynn Smull. Mr. Smull took one call that lasted less than a minute. He told me to text him my info and he would reach me the following day, when he didn’t call I texted again. He said he was busy in negotiations and his staff would call me. I have yet to receive a call.
Mr. Ariza has concerns on how the city council has operated through the entire process. He and his board are taking such a long time to even give the city the thumbs up on the deal because they are combing over the 161 page concession agreement. Mr. Ariza said he is doing his due diligence to protect existing WVWD customers and rate payers and to make sure this agreement won’t force them to raise existing rates. Mr. Ariza said he would be treating the water deal with Rialto as a sub-section of WVWD because they will only be operating the system not have overall control. Normally one would be happy about this except the people who waited this long to get things in order are the same ones with the control.
I always liked the idea of WVWD running the water here, heck the first time I had to pay my bill in person I went there to find out that a city of our size is so split. After talking with Mr. Ariza I was more at ease with the idea of working with him and his people on our utility. He was very personable and hid nothing. He offered to sit down with me and take my calls anytime. He even alluded to the fact that if we did things right in reference to the upgrades the fourth year of 25% rate increase may be much lower. I called both GM’s of EVWD & WVWD both were very nice and told me everything they knew and if they didn’t have direct knowledge they pointed me in the right direction.
I met with Councilman Ed Scott & Ed Palmer today and in reference to the water deal they said:
They told me some things I will believe until I get my own copy of the water deal. They said the 30 million will go into a capital improvement fund not the general fund. They disputed that the 30 million was going to be used to service the loan debt. I don’t believe this one because at this point we will be in deficit spending next year. The way it was explained by them and verified by someone I trust is you must have half your total budget in reserves so if we spend 10 million annually we must have 5 million in reserves. Rialto will be in what’s referred to as deficit spending by 5 million which means our reserves will go 5 million dollars below half the cities operating budget. How can we afford to service a new debt if we can’t pay our bills as they stand today?
I have yet to get in contact with Table Rock, Deborah Robertson or  George Harris. Updates will be comming.

*************** Sources of Reference*********************************

All Council Members can be reached at 909-820-2525

Grace Vargas
vargasg@rialtoca.gov

Ed Scott

scotte@rialtoca.gov

Joe Baca Jr

bacaj@rialtoca.gov

Ed Palmer

palmere@rialtoca.gov

Deborah Robertson

robertsond@rialtoca.gov

Contact Anthony W. Araiza General Manager

administration@wvwd.org
Table Rock Finacial:
Megan – 415-497-2320
Lynn Smull – 510-326-3209

855 W. Base Line Road P.O. Box 920 Rialto, CA  92377
Ph: (909) 875-1804 ext. 703 Fx: (909) 875-7284

http://www.rialtowaterfacts.com/Websites/rialtowaterfacts/files/Content/1964907/WaterAndWastewater_FAQs.pdf

American Water Corporate Offices 1025 Laurel Oak Road Voorhees, NJ 08043 856.346.8200

Or is it:

Rialto Water Services L P (856) 359-0965 Mt Laurel, NJ

Business Information:

Street Address: 330 Fellowship Road

City: Mt Laurel
State: NJ
Zip Code: 08054
License Number: 948662
License Held: General Engineering Contractor
License Status: Active As Of 1/20/2010 Update
Date License Issued: June 12th, 2010
Years in business: 2
Bond Company: Travelers Casualty And Surety Company Of America
Bond Number: 105448107
San Bernardino and Riverside Counties B.C.T.C
William Perez, Executive Secretary, EW
1074 East La Cadena Drive, Suite 15
Riverside, CA 92507
Office: (951) 684-1040
Fax: (951) 684-6410
Email: btcbill@sbcglobal.net

Water Debate Update

Rialto Now readers we have some news on the front lines of our water debate. Yes the city made a horrible decision to not place the American Water sell off on the November Ballot, it seems if these reports are true they are finally listening, but why now? Well Councilman Ed Palmer is running for re-election on a failed platform of being there for the community & calling the city on wasteful spending that lasted a little more than a year and died. Reports are that Councilman Ed Scott isn’t seeking another term as Councilman and is seeking the job of Mayor as current Mayor Vargas is ending her time as mayor. As well as Councilwoman Deborah Robertson is also taking another stab at Mayor but her seat on council isn’t up for grabs this go around.

So with Deborah Robertson was absent and the city decided to change its course on the outsource water agreement and the 2 possibilities are Veolia North American who currently works with our waste water systems and East Valley Water District (EVWD) that currently services the top portion of the city’s water services and has worked on removing perchlorate groundwater plume.

What is important now is to continue the pressure and make sure we know about any concession agreement from here on out, we are allowed to ask questions for clarity and that the City Council stops referring to any balloon payment from any other outside companies as Redevelopment money. I have had personal conversations with people inside the state controllers office that such money may fall into the states preview to take since all RDS’s departments are no to be eliminated. Call it what it is money the RUA has owed the general fund for years………….

Ed Scott said that the thing holding up our In & Out project was the state finishing up with old RDA projects. He later said he didn’t know why things were taking so long and blamed the City Staff for not keeping Council informed of time lines and issues.

Were looking for Honest hard-working people to fill Council seats, if the news is difficult give it to use straight and allow us the community to see where we can help make the hard choices for our community together. Also we need Council Members that let us know we are heard, listen to us and don’t bark at us when you don’t like what we say.

American Water is out as operator for Rialto

Jim Steinberg, Staff Writersbsun.com

Posted:   07/10/2012 10:33:57 PM PDT

The yearlong suspense over whether New Jersey-based American Water Works Co. Inc. will manage Rialto’s water and wastewater system is over – it will not.”My gosh this is wonderful. I hated those people (American Water). I don’t feel comfortable with a company on the Stock Exchange,” said Toni Volinski, a longtime Rialto resident, who has been opposed to the American Water deal from the get-go.

“We wouldn’t have a lot of control – and that frightened me,” she said.

The financial backer of the 30-year concession agreement that made American Water the manager of Rialto’s water and wastewater department has removed American Water as the operator, Peter Luchetti, authorized officer of Rialto Water Services LP, wrote Mike Story, Rialto’s city administrator.

Leading the list of potential replacement operators, Luchetti wrote, is Veolia North American, which has managed Rialto’s wastewater treatment plant for years and nearby West Valley Water District, which has been a long-time partner with Rialto in the cleanup effort for a large perchlorate groundwater plume.

At its June 26 meeting, the council voted 4-1 to approve a rate increase that would propel water and sewer rates 114.8 percent by 2016.

Mayor Pro Tem Ed Scott, in an interview Tuesday, said he and councilman Ed Palmer, who led a subcommittee to evaluate water service alternatives for Rialto, had told Rialto Water Services that a substitute for American Water was needed.

Scott said a well-organized resistance to American Water necessitated the action to find another company to manage Rialto’s water operations.

Scott was referring to the campaigns organized by the the Utility Workers Union of America. “Replacement of American Water would be excellent news and a victory for Rialto ratepayers,” Mark Brooks, a union spokesman, said.

The Utility Workers Union has several contract issues with American Water across the country.

This is the Letter From Mark Brooks & Stop Rialto Water Rate Hikes.

Dear Rialto friends and neighbors:

I am writing to let you know about a potential huge victory for ratepayers in Rialto!

Although this may seem like a “good news/bad news” story, in our view Rialto citizens are on the verge of overturning the City Council’s very bad decision to contract out the City’s water system to for-profit American Water Company.

But first the bad news: 

Last week four members of the City Council decided not to place our referendum challenging the Concession Agreement for the water and wastewater system on the ballot for a public vote.*  A majority of the City Council – everyone EXCEPT Council Member Baca – made this absurd decision, even though the County and the City have both certified the fact that we submitted far more than enough signatures from Rialto voters to place this issue on the ballot.

We believe the City’s excuse for not placing this issue on the ballot – that we supposedly failed to attach the entire 1,600 page Concession Agreement to our voter petitions – is completely bogus.  There is nothing in California law that would require us to do this.  In addition, even if the City Council thought it had any grounds to refuse to place this issue on the ballot, the City is ignoring the long-standing California procedure that is required to ignore a valid referendum petition submitted by the voters.

We believe the four members of the City Council who made this decision are engaged in a desperate attempt to prevent Rialto voters from passing judgment on the proposed Concession Agreement.

And now for the good news:

We have received reports that the City may replace American Water as the proposed operator for Rialto’s water system under the Concession Agreement!

If the City indeed makes this decision, this will be a huge victory for Rialto ratepayers.  The City’s own reports have consistently shown that for-profit American Water’s participation in this deal is one of the important reasons for the proposed water rate hikes.

What’s more, we understand that neighboring West Valley Water District might be a “preferred” replacement to operate the City’s water system.

Although the UWUA has never taken any position on who should operate the City’s water system (other than the City itself), in our view this would be good news for Rialto.  West Valley is a neighboring public water system – rather than an out-of-state corporation like American Water – and already provides water services to roughly half the City of Rialto.   Moreover, we believe American Water has a demonstrated track record of hostility toward the rights of utility workers.

So what about the referendum petition?

Unfortunately, the City Council’s decision not to place the referendum on the ballot probably means that someone would have to incur considerable legal expenses to sue the City to overturn this misguided decision.  The UWUA is not in a position to incur these significant expenses at this time.

Even so, you should know that any Rialto voter who signed the petition against the City Council’s decision may have the right to sue.  Obviously this would be a big undertaking.  Moreover, we believe any Rialto voter or group interested in pursuing that fight should act immediately!  We may be able to refer any Rialto group or voter interested in pursuing this further to appropriate attorneys.

Celebrate the victory!

There can be no doubt that – if indeed he City reverses its decision to contract out Rialto’s water system to American Water – this victory will be a direct result of your many efforts over the past year to oppose the Council’s misguided decisions!

In our view, any decision to replace American Water as the operator of the Rialto water system would be a huge victory – for ratepayers and for workers.  As we have said many times before, any deal to contract out the City’s water system to American Water would be a bad deal for Rialto ratepayers.

Thank you for your many efforts in this struggle.  We will continue to keep you informed.

Sincerely,

Mark Brooks

Utility Workers Union of America/SOS Rialto Water

* Please note that Council Member Joe Baca, Jr. voted AGAINST the City Council’s decision not to place our referendum on the ballot.   To his credit, Council Member Baca has consistently opposed the Rialto Council’s misguided decisions concerning this entire issue.  In our view, Council Member Baca has shown real integrity throughout this debate over the future of Rialto’s public water system.

Update and comentary on prop 218 count

Let me preface this article with a little piece of info. When your asking someone to invest in your company or idea you give a portion or percentage over to them for a certain dollar amount.
City Council and Staff along with the RUA valued the water and waste water at 30 million dollars of which they are cashing out in total. American Water is valuing the water and waste water systems at 130 million dollars, with a 3 million dollar reduction each year we honor the contract. So when the contract is so bad we just can’t stomach their lack of service and customer service people working in call centers in India we have to pay them at their valuation. So a city with no money as it is we will be stuck with this crappy bad deal. The city has already begun to sell your services down the drain. Street sweepers that under sold a contract to get the work to come back later for more money. Graffiti removal services where the owner actually said who cares if the tags stay up another day or two if it saves the city money.
Remove these people this november and send a message that we demand to be heard and represented.
RIALTO – A big question surrounding Rialto’s controversial 30-year contract with American Water Works Co. Inc. will be answered Tuesday.That’s when officials from the City Clerk’s office will count Proposition 218 protest ballots starting at 1 p.m.

Proposition 218 requires cities to have a vote of potentially affected residents when a rate hike is proposed.

In the case of Rialto’s proposed water rate hikes, a large number of ballots came into the city within the last 30 minutes of the deadline on June 12, Mayor Pro Tem Ed Scott said Friday.

That prompted the City Council to defer a vote on the final procedure to institute a series of rate hikes that would mean a 114.5-percent increase in water and wastewater

A wheel line irrigation system operates in an agriculture area near the offices of Pacific Gas and Electric Company in Hinkley. (Gabriel Luis Acosta/Staff Photographer)

rates by 2016.

The rate hikes are part of a plan to outsource the management of Rialto’s water and wastewater systems to American Water.

The matter will be taken up again at a City Council meeting on June 26.

While the vote tally could end the deal, that result is unlikely, election observers say, as more than half of the Rialto property owners and renters who are ratepayers – plus one – would have filed a protest.

But there’s another issue looming that could derail the water agreement and rate hikes.

On May 12, members of the Utility Workers of America turned in petitions with more than 6,400 signatures seeking to put the council’s water rate decisions to a vote, which could be held in November or at another time selected by the council.

Only about 3,800 signatures are needed to take the council’s action to voters.

The city hired the county’s elections office to validate the signatures.

Scott said he has not heard the result, but that too would come out on the council meeting of June 26.

Not only do signatures need to be valid, but the process to collect the signatures needs to be valid, Scott said.

Joe Baca Jr., who was the lone dissenter in the rate hike vote, said most Rialto residents understand that rates need to increase to pay for water system upgrades, just not so rapidly.

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