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

 

Results from the Veolia Workshop

So on Monday June 16th the City Council held a workshop to get a report of the first year of the water services contract with Veolia Water Services acting as Rialto Water Services. From the sounds of it this was something that Veolia did not want to publicized because on almost every account they are behind on the infrastructure improvements six months to one and a half years. Ullico is in charge of tracking and auditing the progress Veolia has made in the first year of the 30 year contract.

Marcus Fuller the Department Head from Public Works and Ullico worked very hard to turn a bad report into a better one but the city council, Mayor & Mayor Pro Tem all saw through the smoke and mirrors. Below you will see some of the slides Ullico presented to city council last week:

Here you will see that Veolia is one year five months behind on roughly 2 million dollars worth of improvements, eight months behind schedule on 3.6 million dollars worth of improvements & five months behind on 876 thousand dollars worth of improvements. Now Ullico wants you to give Veolia a break as they want to drag their feet and “get comfortable” with the contract they took on after American Water was kicked out of the deal by Rialto Residents and the Union that represented the water employees.

 

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One major issue with giving them months and months to go over this infrastructure agreement is the 41 million will soon begin to be eaten up when interest rates increase. This means their will be less money to complete the long list of projects Former Mayor Grace Vargas, Former Councilman Ed Scott, Current Mayor Deborah Robertson and Current Mayor Pro Tem Ed Palmer all said were so vital to Rialto moving forward as a progressive city. Council Members told us these upgrades would be vital to major projects like the proposed Super Walmart & the Target Shopping Center that no longer has a Target store (Target has backed out). So what happens if Super Walmart goes in and the sewer system isn’t able to handle the bump in use? There was talk of the sewers backing up and spilling out into the streets.

Councilman O’Connell asked the VP of Veolia if the interest rates caused the money to be used up prior to completion of the listed projects would Veolia see those projects to completion. The VP of Veolia said no.

So Veolia can drag their feet and tie up these projects in paperwork and read tape while the clock ticks and you continue to pay massive increases to your rates with NO CHANGE. Even their field techs, people that live and work in this city are blown away and say that Veolia is doing nothing!!!!

The end result was a motion to have Marcus Fuller, Public Works Director meet with Rialto Water Services and Veolia to get a expedited time frame of when we can see projects beginning the construction phase. Marcus Fuller will report the outcomes in 90 days from the meeting date.

We have reached out to Veolia VP Lanita McCauley Bates and Rialto Veolia Manager Michael Greene when they respond we will update with their comments.

Suprise Special Council Meeting

So those of you using water services its time to listen up. It appears there is a “Public Hearing” scheduled for tomorrow in regards to the financial performance of Table Rock Capital & the performance of Veolia as our water & waste water provider. What you didn’t know? Well that’s because someone at city hall doesn’t want you there. The meeting was hidden in the city calendar with no title unless you click the highlighted date. Even then it only states that its a special council meeting. Then you must dig through the confusing agenda procedure to find the agenda (here is the link) https://rialto.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx

Oh and don’t worry everything is very confusing and hard to understand so here are the last minute bullet points we were able to pull out.

  • The spending is and was out of control, money is going into local consultants pockets to the tune of around 8 million dollars.
  • RUA reserves were depleted to the tune of 3.4 million dollars.
  • Your rates have gone up to cover infrastructure costs yet no improvement have been made and the ones that have been scheduled have been delayed again.
  • Veolia has spent your money moving into a new building and delayed doing their jobs.
  • Veolia claims your customer service problems are minor and not an issue.
  • The main reason for this agreement was to have the money to shut down the airport for a Target Shopping center is a thing of the past as Target has been out of the deal for years.
  • From all appearances we are stuck with this deal until 2042!!!!!!!!!!!
  • City Clerk Barbara McGee refused to honor the communities petition.
  • Table Rock Paid 1 million more than necessary to remove American Water from the agreement.

Does anyone have the presence of mind to call Table Rock Financial and Veolia on the carpet for what they have done and not done? Are you tired of paying more money for below par service and a company that has worst customer service than the Ca. DMV? Well tomorrow you have the right and ability to have your questions answered or air the horrible customer service that Veolia really provides the customers in Rialto.

Meeting details:

City Hall

6/16/14 @ 6pm

Can’t Make the meeting follow us on twitter http://www.twitter.com/rialtosnow follow #RialtoWaterReport

You can watch online at http://rialto.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=4

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Tab 1

Approving the final financing table rock

Tab 2

Veolia’s 1st year performance