By Brandon HENSLEY
The Crescenta Valley Water District is proposing an increase to its rates and will hold a public meeting on the matter next week.
During the CV Town Council meeting on Oct. 20, Dennis Erdman, district general manager, spoke to the audience for why the board is considering an average increase of 8.2%, which he said is the maximum amount of increase the board can propose.
Basically, he said, the district’s infrastructure needs improving for the long-term.
“We should be spending more than $5 million a year to keep it up. We’re budgeting about $2 million a year,” he said.
Erdman said the district has some wells that were built in the 1930s and that they need to be updated in case of a natural disaster.
“They will eventually fail,” Erdman said of the wells. “Erosion takes its toll.”
If voted for, the increase would be effective Jan. 1. Erdman said there could also be another increase of over 2% next summer.
“What this means though is that when I propose a budget that has a rate increase in it, that rate increase doesn’t hit sometimes for half a year, and it’s undecided whether that rate increase is really going to happen or not by the time the budget’s adopted, so we’d really like to get our rate adoption and our budget adoption at the same date,” Erdman said. “That’s the reason for these two rate increases happening so quickly.”
A public hearing on the matter will be held Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the district.
“It’s up to me, it’s to my staff, it’s up to the board of directors to interpret from you, the community, as to what your tolerance is for increases in price in order to sustain what we have today to carry it into the future,” Erdman said.
The audience also heard from two candidates vying for one of the district’s board of directors’ spot. Incumbent Ken Putnam and challenger Charles Beatty spoke for three minutes each for why they want the position. The election is on Nov. 8.
Beatty was a CVWD director from 2007-09. He said he wants to mitigate rate increases and look to solar powered energy. He said he couldn’t promise he would vote to not raise rates, but, “I can say that I will promise to look at water rates and keep them in check with the way the other inflationary structures which we have right now are in place.”
Putnam was appointed to the board two years ago. He cited his experience in working the water business ever since he graduated college.
“I have a world of knowledge and experience, and I think that’s what I bring to the board,” he said.
The town council also has an election for its members next month, and a forum was held featuring six candidates.
Mike Claessens is the only new challenger this year, and he is going up against incumbents Beatty, Odalis Suarez, Danette Erickson, and Robert Thomas and former councilman Frank Beyt.
Claessens is a former chief litigator for L.A. County of 32 years. He said he didn’t want to get involved in this type of service until after the Station Fire, when he saw how the community rallied around each other.
“My main concern is still [the big earthquake] and what we’re supposed to do,” he said. “I don’t think anyone knows what going to happen.”
My pledge if I’m elected is to try and communicate the information to the people as much as I can.”
The CVTC elections are Nov. 5 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the La Crescenta Library. The next town council meeting is scheduled for Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. in the La Crescenta Library.
Next week the CV Weekly will present question and answers from the CV Town Council candidiates.