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Rainbow MWD adjusts water and sewer rates

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013
Issue 18, Volume 17.
Joe Naiman
Village News Correspondent
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The Rainbow Municipal Water District adjusted its water and sewer rates.

A 5-0 board vote Feb. 26 set April 1 as the date for an increase of $0.03 per unit beyond the first six units (one unit equates to 100 cubic feet or 748 gallons) and a five percent increase in the monthly operations and maintenance charge. The district also terminated its reservoir upgrade fee.

The increase in water rates is expected to generate an additional $240,000 while the increase in the operations and maintenance charge is expected to add $165,000 to the district’s revenues. "The costs of the goods and services that we buy have gone up considerably," said Dave Seymour, who retired as Rainbow’s general manager four days after the effective date. "We’re just trying to offset these costs."

Other than passing on rate increases from the San Diego County Water Authority, the increased commodity costs were Rainbow’s first since 2009. "We’re trying to control costs as much as we can," Seymour said.

The district’s December 2012 newsletter gave customers the required 45-day notice of the February 26 public hearing to increase rates. The district also assumed rate increases when it adopted its 2012-13 operating budget.

The rate of $2.95 per unit for the first six units is unchanged while the rate for units beyond those six was increased from $3.00 to $3.03. Properties utilizing the Standard Agricultural Water Rate had been paying $2.72 per unit and will now be paying $2.75.

The monthly operations and maintenance charge increased from $25.71 to $27.00 for 5/8" meters, from $32.14 to $33.75 for 3/4" meters, from $41.78 to $43.90 for 1-inch meters, from $64.28 to $67.50 for 1 1/2-inch meters, from $112.48 to $118.15 for two-inch meters, from $192.83 to $202.55 for three-inch meters, from $321.39 to $337.60 for four-inch meters, and from $546.36 to $573.90 for six-inch meters.

The reservoir upgrade fee had been implemented two years ago to fund upgrades mandated by state and federal regulations. The charge was used to fund the planning, design, construction, and other related costs to bring the uncovered drinking water reservoirs into compliance with current health standards.

Because the State Water Resources Control Board gave the Rainbow district a low-interest State Revolving Fund loan, the reservoir upgrade charge is no longer necessary. The fee had generated $1,230,000 annually and was $9.10 per month for 5/8" meters, $11.37 per month for 3/4" meters, and $14.79 per month for meters larger than 3/4".

The Rainbow Municipal Water District had also provided public notice about a potential sewer rate increase, but the City of Oceanside subsequently notified Rainbow staff about a reduction in Oceanside’s charge to the Rainbow district for sewage treatment. That reduced cost allows Rainbow to defer a sewer rate increase.

A separate 5-0 vote Feb. 26 set a May 28 hearing date to determine water availability charges for Improvement District No. 1.



Comment Profile ImageOVER RMWD
Comment #1 | Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 11:32 am
This is such a bunch of crud! My water bill is the most outrageous bill we have in our household! My $250 monthly bill is just out of hand!!! I actually spend about $40 on actual water, the rest goes to their BS fees, operations and maintenance and now you are raising it! BOYCOTT!!!
Comment Profile ImageMe
Comment #2 | Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 12:09 pm
Still have the highest base rate of all 23 districts.
Comment Profile ImageLee
Comment #3 | Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 3:32 pm
When will the people stand up, yes, yes, peacefully and legally to an injustice?! When?! If these RMWD rate increases, as are the rates themselves, aren't a crime, then I don't know what is!

My dear fellow Fallbrookers, can you please do an online search for "Dave Seymour Fallbrook", and you will find a U-T article, "Fallbrook and Rainbow water districts inch toward merge", that lists the RMWD GM's annual salary and benefits as . . . $300,000/year.

PLEASE LOOK IT UP ONLINE YOURSELF! (It's the article with the photograph of California's aqueduct.)

THIS is where all the rate increases go! THIS is what all those [beep] fees are for! The reason for these rate increases and fees has, most likely, NOTHING to do with the price of water! Why? With former Mayor Sanders having told us that we, San Diegans, were saving 17% on water, I believe, (A) WHY would rate increases go into effect shortly thereafter, and (B) WHY at 25%? (That's one rate increase I remember about two or so years ago. Correct me if I'm wrong.) The answer is simple:

With the reduction of water consumption, the water district(s) had to increase their revenue production to maintain the SAME, well, revenue and operating budget. And by 'operating budget', folks, we are talking about their salaries!!!!!

This, my dear fellow Fallbrookers, is called extortion and blackmail! Isn't it? Sure it is! If the receiver of funds suddenly receives LESS funds due to the user's, i.e., the consumer's, decrease of that "product" and, hence, (the receiver) increases his/her revenue via rate increases, i.e., the price of that "product", or manufactures some sort of fees, isn't that the extortion and blackmail of the user?

Of course it is!

Like I said, when will the people FINALLY stand up to this injustice peacefully and legally? When?

I called KUSI's Michael Turko a couple of weeks ago to look into this matter trying to convince him that this is nothing short of the crime of the City of Bell's politicians . . . but he did not even respond.

The other question I have RE this entire issue is can somebody once and for all explain to me why ONE little, rinky-dinky town, Fallbrook, needs TWO -- count 'em! -- TWO water districts?! (Yes, yes, they are trying to merge into one. They are TRYING, folks! That's the operative word here.) Heck, why does ONE county need all these water districts? The answer is very simple: water districts are needless "middle men" that do NOTHING but raise the water rates! This is absolutely shameful and criminal!

Welcome to deregulation, folks! Think of it every time you open up your water bill!
Comment Profile Imagejust sayin'
Comment #4 | Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 5:49 pm
Well, the oldtimers could see this coming. People that moved here were always screaming that the farmers were getting an unfair advantage because of lower water rates. When RMWD has a fixed operating budget of about 35-40 million dollars a year and 75% of their water sales went to ag users, guess what happens when the growers close up because of the high rates. RMWD, w/their fixed operating budget has to raise rates even higher to make up for the loss of water the FARMERS!! So you people who live in your little nice communties that have sprung up all over the area...stand by. Your water rates are going to skyrocket as the avocado growers shut off their water. So next time you see a group of RMWD workers sitting under a tree, just waiting for 2:30 to come around so they can head in for quitting time at 3:00...tell them thanks a lot..for nothing...
Comment Profile ImageJoe Naiman
Comment #5 | Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 8:31 pm
Lee - I do not intend either to rebut or to support your opinions, but since you asked someone to
explain why Fallbrook has multiple water districts I will comply with your request.

The article below should provide some explanation of FPUD and Rainbow specifically:

The concept of neighborhood water districts - including mutual water companies which
were predecessors to public agencies - was not due to the desire of farming areas to be
separate from downtown areas but rather due to infrastructure limitations. The specific
neighborhoods needed water and likely didn't care whether their mutual water district
or water agency included other areas or just their own. They built systems which
were able to serve their customers, and that rather than who else could be served
was their primary focus. Often these neighborhood mutual water companies or public
agencies merged peacefully when circumstances warranted. In other cases political
obstacles delayed or even prevented such mergers. Those political obstacles can include
not only various conflicts with neighboring districts (e.g., residential versus commercial)
but also issues such as water rights, annexation fees (Pauma Valley has one public
water district which is part of the San Diego County Water Authority and two which
aren't), and other situations.

It should also be noted that there are two areas of San Diego County which are not in
the County Water Authority. The eastern area with places such as Borrego, Julian, Pine
Valley, etc., is dependent mostly on groundwater. The other area not in the CWA is
the Coronado-Imperial Beach area; this is due to certain Navy supply agreements.
Comment Profile ImageHuh?
Comment #6 | Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 10:09 pm
So they drop the rate by $14.79 monthly and raise it $.03 per unit and folks complain? By my math you need to use nearly than 500 units of water each month before you have to pay more. Most people will save a lot of $$$.

Do the math folks.
Comment Profile ImageMe
Comment #7 | Friday, May 3, 2013 at 11:12 am
Huh? You forgot this part...."and a five percent increase in the monthly operations and maintenance charge."
Comment Profile Imagegrunt
Comment #8 | Friday, May 3, 2013 at 11:44 am
Seems that we are asked to conserve (water, electrictry what ever) then the rates fo up because we don't use enough.
Comment Profile ImageAvo Farmer
Comment #9 | Friday, May 3, 2013 at 4:56 pm
The other story we should all be shouting about was the one last week where the new JPA board decided to adopt the higher rate of pay for the new board meetings. That about says it all folks. They claim that having the two district join forces will reduce costs, and the very first thing they do make sure they are paying themselves the higher rate of the two districts. I predict that we are going to see this over and over again. Every time there is a joint project, they are going to make sure the district that is paying the lower pay rate increases its rate to match the higher rate.
Comment Profile ImageHuh?
Comment #10 | Friday, May 3, 2013 at 5:29 pm
Come on, Me, just do the math.

Say you have a 2" meter; your o&m fee goes up by $5 or so, minus the reservoir charge you are ahead by about $10 per month. You can still use 300 units per month and come out ahead.
Comment Profile ImageReality Bites
Comment #11 | Friday, May 3, 2013 at 8:07 pm
I heard the new GM's compensation package is the highest in San Diego County... for a simple little agricultural community. Can this be explained?
Comment Profile ImageCheck it out
Comment #12 | Saturday, May 4, 2013 at 3:16 pm
@ comment #11: No.
Comment Profile ImagePreston
Comment #13 | Monday, May 6, 2013 at 6:54 am
When you grow food, sell commercially, and your water usage is in a normal usage range, you should get a break on the water rates. We farmers already have to compete with massive amounts of fruit coming in from other countries and increasing prices across the board on everything else. The cost to harvest (by insured workers) is now pushing .20 per pound and we are lucky to get $1.00 per pound at the wholesaler. If water rates continue to increase Avocado Farming in Fallbrook will be history.
Comment Profile ImageLee
Comment #14 | Monday, May 6, 2013 at 9:56 am
@ #13 Preston.

I couldn't agree more!

got olives and grapes?
Comment Profile ImageReality Bites
Comment #15 | Monday, May 6, 2013 at 1:57 pm
The water district appears to be trying to drive us Avo farmers out of business. Why? Is it to make more room for development? Temecula south?
Comment Profile ImagePreston
Comment #16 | Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 8:26 am
By the way, the amount mentioned in my previous comment is just the cost to pick the fruit off the tree and get it to the Wholesale Company. There is, of course, monthly maintenance, pest control, yearly pruning, fertilizer and lab testing in addition to the high water cost. Then after a year of work you are at the mercy of Mother Nature and unfortunately Theft. Avocados do not like freezing weather, extreme heat or wind -- The two legged creature is the worst of all the thieves that pray on your crop.
Comment Profile ImageLee
Comment #17 | Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 11:08 am
@ # 15 Reality Bites

How interesting you mention this! I thought the same thing. Who would this favor? Why would somebody want to eliminate the avocado industry? And who would it benefit? Well, those who would want to ram housing developments down our throats. And who would that be? And who would that benefit?

Camp Pendleton.
Comment Profile ImageSeriously
Comment #18 | Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 12:50 pm
Oh good grief Lee. You really should write fiction, what an imagination. I've heard of reaches but that theory is beyond ridiculous, even for you.
Comment Profile ImageLee
Comment #19 | Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 4:57 pm
@ #18 Seriously

Why is my theory ridiculous?
Comment Profile Image....
Comment #20 | Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 4:58 pm
Lee = Ray's replacement?
Comment Profile Imagekma
Comment #21 | Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 5:22 pm
Camp P wants our water rates high so avos go away and developers can slap up housing? What are the wages on Camp P?! Just looked at the value of my property and comps in the same area - $800k+...Is that a neighborhood for Camp P?! I live where there is NO water available from RMWD yet I am STILL charged (TAXED) no less than FOUR surcharges by FOUR water agencies so that other ppl in this state have access to water?! Talk about taxation w/out representation! And, it is FAR past time for us to get REAL about gov employees' wages and benefits! They have been out of control for yrs...FAR surpassing same positions in the private sector. No one at our water districts should be making more than the average wage of the county! Even $100k/yr is TOO high!
Comment Profile ImagePot and Kettle
Comment #22 | Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 6:45 pm
@kma... I wonder how much a person has to make yearly to afford a $800k house? $45k/yr? $60k/yr?
Comment Profile ImagePink
Comment #23 | Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 9:28 pm
@Lee: sense!!
Comment Profile ImageLee
Comment #24 | Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 7:52 am
@ #23 Pink

Why does it not make sense? Please explain.
Comment Profile ImageLaughing Out Loud
Comment #25 | Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 11:43 am
@Lee please explain how it does make sense. I mean it is pretty clear why it doesn't make sense, and why it sounds like one of the nuttier theories on the planet, but I'm curious as to how your "mind" works.... what could Camp Pendleton POSSIBLY gain by getting rid of avo farmers?? Do you really believe that CP (who has been Fallbrook's neighbor for over 70 years) has been patiently waiting all these years to "strike"? That they are somehow in collusion with RMWD to turn farms into houses? Really?
Comment Profile ImageFVN Reader
Comment #26 | Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 1:10 pm
Is this the same "Lee" that made all the inflammatory comments regarding the Fallbrook school district's compensation policies and homosexuals in previous articles?

Article Comments are contributed by our readers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Fallbrook Village News staff. The name listed as the author for comments cannot be verified; Comment authors are not guaranteed to be who they claim they are.


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