Truly, to continue to throw, good money into a conceived plan to reinvent the constant dumping of “Treated Sewer” materials into the Bay, that time for change has truly arrived. The current plan no longer pencils out.
This is the time to build the new Plant # 2 on the North Spit and have the outflow go into the Ocean.
Because the current outfall for Plan # 2 is failing, and was not included in the cost to rebuild Plant #2 In Empire, which was to use the current outfall, it will be necessary to repair, more than likely to completely rebuild the outfall line.
Starting with am estimated interim repair of $70,000 coming right out of the waste water improvement funds. Your sewer fee will take care of this payment.
Then another $100,000 for design and construction, just for the repair, not the final solution, just the bandaid. Your sewer fees will take care of this also. Then, probably a complete new outflow for Plant #2, if it were to be built in Empire, instead of the North Spit.
This condition possibly has existed since 2009, DEQ, knows there is no adverse impacts on the bay's health. Their belief is that point source treated sewer discharge does not effect the bay. Only non-source discharges in the bay is problematic. So no hurry to discharge money down the rat hole when a change is in the wind.
This viewpoint is based upon sewer fees collected are those of the Coos Bay water board account holders and sewer users of Coos Bay, and that any current calculation by the city or CB/NB water board is not combining any of the Bunker Hill or Charleston fee structure to establish the Coos Bay rates.
The sewer user fee collection system, used in Coos Bay is the most simple, confusing, complex, method as can be imaginable a labyrinth.
The purpose, to collect sewer fees to be used to pay off debt. In addition the collected money is used for current operations and maintenance. The debt is for future planned capital improvements, upgrades of sewer plants, two of them, sewer collection system, and the storm collection system.
The sewer fee collection has six identifying characteristics.
First, establish a household, base use through a rate study average use, which is 560 cubic feet. Agenda Staff Report, Agenda Item #7, May 7, 2013, Resolution 13-04 Attached there in: Sewer Rate Resolution with Rate Increase, Average Family. *Change in the average sewer rate per family was based upon the 2006 Yost Rate Study……………..770 cf to 560 cf.
Second, classification, establishing a rate fee structure in a uniform way effecting all users of the system.
Third, establish an annual rate increase for the continued increasing cost associated with regulatory requirements, treating sewage, and plant upgrades within a closed system of dumping into the bay.
Fourth, user fee collection, using the CB/NB Waterboard.
Fifth, regulatory body to oversee the system, in principle for fairness, and equitable. To promote conservation, affordable and finically sustainable. Be justifiable. Simple to understand. (from May 29, 2015 City of Coos Bay – Issue Paper)
Six, spend the money.
First, Average Family, the average sewer rate per family, which is 560 cubic feet
Second, Classification. This is held close to the chest of the City. Information about how a property is assigned, or what property by address, is assigned a classification is not easily available, if at all. A classification is pertinent to the cost of operation and function of the property. The classification is also paramount to the shared cost of the property related to purpose of collection of sewer fees for the sewer system. multi-family building, each unit is looked at as one base rate. This does not mitigate for a vacancy, or a unit not used at all but may be necessary for storage for the building.
The number of fixtures, such as sinks, toilets, tub/showers, are they part of the discussion in the Calculation assignments, as well as who choose to assign what classification to what property? That is simply not on the table, and appears is not wanted to be put on the table. Where is that discussion now?
The question is, do motels rooms which have one bathroom, just like a multi-family one bedroom apartment have a multi-family classification, or a commercial, where they only have one base rate? Is the College Dorms a multi-family or government class? Are the Hud, and Low Income Housing, multi-family, or are they commercial or governmental paying only one base rate?
This question cannot be answered until this is put on the table. Is the Council going to put it on the table? Something is not equitable, if a property owner is paying two base rates for a multi-family duplex, with two bathroom for one building, when other building with a commercial or governmental classification who may have a his and hers bathroom, and separate bathroom for staff or the boss, are only paying one base rate. What is the argument for “per unit” in a mult-family, if it truly does not apply to all users who are muli-family.
Third, annual rate increases are accomplished by establishing the funds needed, or increased need for a five year or 20 year plan, and annually updating it on the required funds to collect. A Resolution is created for the process current one is 15-06 May 5, 2015, and a correction for words left out (clerical error) since 2011, May 19, 2015, and Jun 16, 2015, council meeting relating to an issue paper and rounding-up issue.
Unfortunately the Resolutions do not stand alone, even though they are recreated each year and are the legal document. A cover letter is provide, with statements in the cover letter, not in the resolution. Such as the percentage of increase, 6.5%. The average use of 560 cubic feet per household, and the billing cycle. Also the amount of current debt is not stated in the Resolution.
Fourth, average rate payer deals with high rate of confusion and non-understanding. CB/NB Waterboard used as the collection agency. Look at the bill. The amount of Cubic feet you use, (Cons). Is that persons who just got out of jail, or those you seeing working along the roadside?
Did you know that Cons, stands for consumption? Me being as dump as a box of rocks, had to ask someone. Did you know you cannot do the math correctly unless you know that your dealing with 100 cubic feet of water consumption, in the Resolution, where the billing is not showing the fraction, $6.35 / 100. The bill, Cons is in just cubic feet, not 100s of cubic feet. The billing does not show a rounding up, but shows charges for more than consumed, that is the rounding up.
In the Agenda Staff Report, June 16, 2015, The Finance Department staff examined the potential impact to wastewater revenues should the Council decide to revise the practice of "rounding up". The absolute maximum impact to revenue is an annual decrease of $485,000 based on current rates. The most likely impact to annual wastewater revenues is a decrease of around $120,000.
In the Staff report Agenda Staff Report, May 5, 2015, for Resolution 15-06, it was stated “BUDGET: the adjustment in projected to provide $322,790 in additional sewer fee revenue over the budgeted sewer fee revenue for FYE 15”.
If the increase was to bring in an additional $322,790, but eliminating “Rounding Up” creates a maximum impact of revenue decrease of $485,000. Curious about this one.
Does anyone know what the June billing cycle means. What is a billing cycle. If my meter is read in May 15 to June 15. Is my billing cycle for June, with the rate increase beginning on Jun 16, or is it prorated back to June first?
Fifth and Six, regulatory body to oversee the system. The City Council. Looks like they are not paying attention. Beginning back in February 2009, when after the rate study presentation, there was not one question. The Mayor made a statement that it was his belief the system is set up so current payers to not have to incur a large current cost, and it balances out over the years, and the new people into the system would pay their fair share as they come in.
Then in March, 2009 the Council passed the first rate increase based upon the 20 year Capital improvements plan, to be effective 2 months early. Establishing a windfall of $13,000 kick off, before the normal June billing cycle. Two of the council said it first needs to go to the Budget committee for a hearing and approval before coming back to the council in May for approval for the June billing cycle.
They were overruled. And the precedence for an automatic rate increase began. I say that because even though the cover letter for Resolution 15-06 May5, 2015, said the “Coos Bay Budget Committee concluded the FY 2015-2016 budget hearings in April which included a 6.5% increase in sewer user rates”. They may have concluded, but not in public and not through conversation or a vote.
There are two councilors currently on the council from that March 2009, decision process. Even then one felt the process beginning then, 20 year plan, would just be repeated in another 20 years. Never able to look outside the box then, to get on the North Spit, or an Ocean outflow. Now a lost 6 years of expense and plans toward the wrong solution.
Council likes spending money, ask few questions, short on foresight for the best solution and the best bang for the buck and wants to continue the 20 year plan of upgrades and dumping treated sewage into the bay.