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The Watchdog
In This Issue:
Sutter Creek Announces 41% Garbage Rate Increase

AWA Board Asks for GSL, CFD, Audits and Corrections Update

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

Sutter Creek Announces 41% Garbage Rate Increase

On January 29th, the City of Sutter Creek notified residents of a 41% increase in garbage rates. The first of six increases is scheduled for April 1, then 5 more will follow each July 1, from 2013 through 2017. The City Council has not discussed the rate increases in public, and the notice is the first time Sutter Creek residents have heard about these increases.

The city’s franchise agreement with ACES Waste has a procedure for determining fair rates, which includes a guaranteed 12.5% profit for ACES, based on a detailed review of actual costs every three years. However, the City Council has circumvented the franchise agreement by notifying residents all at once of six increases over the next 4.5 years, with no review of actual costs.

Sutter Creek residents do not have to put up with this. Proposition 218 amended the State Constitution to allow ratepayers to protest rate increases. If you live in the city of Sutter Creek and want accountability for the rates you pay, fill out a protest form and send it to RPA. We will deliver the protests to the City Council on the hearing date. If a majority of customers return protests by March 18, the rate increases will not go into effect. Then the City Council will have to consider ACES' actual costs and make sure that ACES really needs more of your money. More

Download the protest form

AWA Board Asks for GSL, CFD, Audits and Corrections Update

At the January 24th AWA Board meeting, the public requested that the AWA Board direct General Manager Gene Mancebo to agendize several topics for the February 14 meeting, including an update on the Gravity Supply Line (GSL) and the Community Facilities District (CFD) to pay for the GSL. The Board also asked Mancebo to agendize status updates on the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 audits and the accounting corrections needed to resolve issues with funds that were illegally intermingled.

It has been nearly three years since AWA’s financials have been successfully audited. The Board refuses to supply communications with the auditor and financial reports to the public, saying that the reports may "confuse them". The Agency’s attorney has said that disclosing the communication between AWA staff and the auditor would have a “chilling effect”. When the ratepayers get over that chill, they may demand to know why their elected officials withheld the financial data.


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

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Our mailing address is: Ratepayer Protection Alliance, P.O. Box 51, Pine Grove CA 95665
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