News Archive

4/12/12 AWA Board Meeting Minutes

  • AWA Annual Audit Still not in Agreement with 66013 Fund Report

    After the public presented over $600,000 in discrepancies between the annual audit and other AWA financial reports on March 22, 2012, AWA still has not explained the differences or approved the audit.

    Also, AWA attorney Steve Kronick stated that issues raised by Berry and Perano in the 66013 suit were “nit picking”. Berry and Perano brought up inconsistencies in the reports as high as $400,000. When asked to hold a public workshop on the reports, Kronick explained there would be no workshop due to the lawsuit.

    Bill Condrashoff asked how AWA General Manager Gene Mancebo could truthfully claim that he would have fixed the 66013 reports had Berry and Perano come to him. Condrashoff came to Board meetings on numerous occasions with complaints of inaccuracies and a request for a workshop on the reports. He claimed Mancebo did nothing each time he made the requests.

    In fact, Berry has been asking for financial information, along with Camanche residents, for over a year. All the lawsuit asks is that AWA produce accurate reports. If the lawsuit is "nit-picking" and the hundreds of thousands of dollars or discrepancies are merely typographical, why not just produce corrected reports and make the lawsuit moot? AWA Directors offer no explanation.

  • AWA Disputes California Constitution Interpretation by Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association

    AWA attorney Steve Kronick stated that a letter from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA) did not mean that AWA’s resolution to limit ratepayer protests to the AWA “official” ballot was unconstitutional.

    Kronick pointed out that HJTA has lost 5 of 11 appellate court cases. It appears that AWA will limit protest forms on the next rate increase and fight the public and HJTA over the California Constitution in court. If AWA chooses to ignore the public and the HJTA letter, ratepayers could have an enormous legal bill to pay after the dust settles.

    Background- The issue in dispute was created by Kronick. On the basis of an $80,000 allocation for unspecified legal expenses, General Manager Mancebo directed Kronick to work on the P218 procedures, even though they had posed no problem in 2010. Kronick and Mancebo decided to add to the Constitutional provisions in the way deemed unconstitutional by HJTA. The Directors all accepted this unnecessary expenditure and risk of litigation with no comment.

  • Monthly Billing vs. Every Other Month?

    Beginning in May, AWA will bill all water customers on a monthly basis. Customers who have been billed every other month will be switched to monthly billing. Though it will increase AWA operating costs, monthly billing is necessary for the system-wide rate consolidation AWA wants to implement.

    AWA says the consolidation will save money, but the monthly billing will mean that every other month ratepayers will foot the cost of reading an additional 3,400 meters, processing 3,400 payments, 3,400 stamps for AWA to mail the bills, and 3,400 stamps for customers to mail payments back to AWA. If you have a $30/month water bill, the decision to bill you monthly will increase the cost of your water by at least 5%.

  • More Wasted Money

    AWA voted to remove the $1.50 credit card processing fee that they imposed to reimburse merchant fees charged to AWA. The merchant bills AWA an additional $2.40 to impose $1.50 on AWA’s customers. It took AWA 6 months (at a cost of around $6,000) to realize they made matters worse by charging the $1.50 fee.

  • Community Facilities Districts Help Land Developers at Ratepayer’s Risk

    The AWA board introduced an ordinance that establishes Community Facilities District policies that will guarantee certain land developers priority over all others in the event of shortages.

    The stated purpose is to help finance the cost of the Amador Transmission Line and water treatment plant improvements in Ione and Sutter Hill, but no details of the cost or the expected amount of financing was given. Developers will pay some share of the cost of the project through property taxes over a 25 year period. Ratepayers will pay for the improvements when they are built and hope that land developers do not default on their taxes and leave ratepayers to pay the bills….again. Other property owners with existing rights to water and service will be potentially left out unless ratepayers pay to build additional capacity.