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The Watchdog
In This Issue:
Gravity Supply Line Falls off Track

Water Agency Solution to $5,000 Pump Repair is $6,000,000 Pipe

About RPA
Ratepayer Protection Alliance (RPA) was formed to support the rights of the people of Amador County against unfair rate increases, which are usually used to subsidize special interests. Recently, RPA has assisted citizens who successfully protested several water rate increases. RPA is committed to ensuring that water, wastewater and garbage rates in Amador County are justified, and do not unfairly burden local residents.

RPA works hard to minimize costs of informing the public of unfair rate increases. RPA operates on the donated time of volunteers and no one is paid for their efforts. Donations for postage costs can be sent to:
Ratepayer Protection Alliance
P.O. Box 51
Pine Grove CA 95665

Gravity Supply Line Falls off Track

Just one month after Board President Paul Molinelli declared that the Gravity Supply Line (GSL) was “on the fast track”, it seems to have fallen off the track. At the 1/10/13 AWA meeting, the public asked about the status of the GSL and no one at the meeting knew the answers.

Jerry Trottier commented that there had not been an update on how the GSL would be financed now that AWA has apparently dropped the plan to use property taxes to pay for the project. Bill Condrashoff asked if the ad hoc committee that was formed to develop a plan to finance the GSL had come up with a source of funds. The Board gave no answer.

When asked if AWA had acquired all of the needed easements and permits for the GSL, neither Field Services Manager Chris McKeage nor General Manager Gene Mancebo nor any Board member knew the answers. Both McKeage and Mancebo answered with, “I don’t know.”

AWA has spent over $1.5 million pursuing the controversial GSL. AWA claims that the project will save money, but they do not have a means to finance the project without a rate increase or property tax. Opponents to the project claim that it is a developer handout and that if the GSL truly saved money, AWA would not need rate increases or new property taxes to pay for the project.


Water Agency Solution to $5,000 Pump Repair is $6,000,000 Pipe

In his 1/10/13 staff report, General Manager Gene Mancebo told the AWA Board that it would take at most $35,000 to repair a pump that moves water into the Amador Canal from Lake Tabaeud. Mancebo went on to say that the long term solution to pumping issues like this one would be to build a small diameter pipe in the canal. AWA has estimated that project will cost as much as $6,000,000. Mancebo said he will bring the canal piping project back to the board with a comprehensive report.

Field Services manager Chris McKeage told the board about a solution to fix the pump problem for around $5,000. The solution would be to use a surplus submersible pump that AWA no longer needed for its original purpose. The Amador Canal serves about 100 customers, so the repair will cost about $50/customer. The $6,000,000 canal piping project will cost around $60,000/customer. However, the cost of either would be spread among all of AWA’s customers in Jackson, Ione, Sutter Creek, Plymouth, Drytown and Amador City, even though those customers will not benefit from the project.

Please forward this message to others in Amador County and help us get the word out!

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