Monday, May 16, 2011

Citizen Egger

Posted By on Mon, May 16, 2011 at 5:41 PM

Tonight at 6 p.m. Fortuna resident Janelle Egger will once again go before the Fortuna City Council to ask them, once again, what the heck they're doing spending money on a new water reservoir at Stewart Street when they've got a perfectly good, underused one on Vancil. She says.

She's gently, forcefully, legally and otherwise peck-peck-pecked at the council and city staff for years. She sued the city for access to public documents, and won. She even ran (unsuccessfuly) for city council last year.

And she's a regular public participant during public comment moments before the council.

Egger sent out a preview today of what she plans to say at tonight's meeting. And she made some handy charts.

In this chart she shows what she's figured out to be the change in cost estimates between 2005 and now to build a new tank to replace two old ones on Stewart Street. They've gone up. And in this chart she's compared the use of the existing big tank on Vancil to the proposed new tank on Stewart Street for meeting current and future water needs, including fire flow. The old Vancil one, she's figured, suits the city's needs just fine.

She also included her comments in the news release. If you can't make the meeting, you can read them after the jump.

I want to share with you information regarding the Stewart Street Replacement project. First, based on city records, it looks like the total cost of this project is at least a $4.5 million and could exceed $5million. 

It is important to remember that the money for this project is from the 2006 Water Revenue Bonds.  One of the reasons we raised water rates was to guarantee this $7million bond debt.

The 2006 City Council passed a resolution telling rate payers that specific projects had been identified by a 2005 study.* The Stewart Street Reservoir Reconstruction project had an estimated at $2.1 million.  Where is the rest of the money for this project coming from?

The resolution told us that the bond debt was for projects "that are required to fulfill the City's current operational responsibilities."  A 2007 Report* identified the citywide storage needs, and the need in each pressure zone.  I have a chart for you based on that report.  The chart reflects the two parts of our water system, with 3 pressure zones served by storage in the southeast and 5 zones served by storage in the north.

When you look at this chart it is important to remember that the 2006 Council resolution told us that the bond debt was for improvements to our existing system only and "are not driven by future development."

I remind you that up the street from the proposed tank are 5 million gallons in Vancil reservoir.  For 45 years, less than 1of its 5 million gallons have been utilized.  I respectfully suggest that a project to make the piping and pumping improvements to use this storage is a more appropriate use of the bond debt.  Of course we are concerned about the future, but the storage in Vancil can meet current need and provide for future development.

I remind you that the Stewart Street Replacement Project will soon go out to bid and you will be asked to authorize the signing of a contract to build 2 million gallons of additional storage down the street from Vancil reservoir.  I ask, is this project an appropriate use of the money rate payers were told was for improvements to our existing system, not for projects driven by future development?

I hope the information I'm providing is useful in helping you answer that question.

Janelle Egger

* 2005 Water Hydraulic Study; Resolution 2006-25; April 2007 Preliminary Design Report

 

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Heidi Walters

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Heidi Walters has been a staff writer with the North Coast Journal since 2005.

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