Members of the Castaic Area Town Council, still worried about the implications of Senate Bill 634 which calls for the formation of one all-encompassing water district, voted in favor this week of writing a draft letter opposing the bill.
Council members said they want to know where they stand and want assurances they will be able to weigh in on important water issues such as rate hikes.
To that end, the town council Wednesday authorized its President Lloyd Carder II to write a draft letter voicing opposition to the bill and seeking clarification about it.
Someone representing Los Angeles County, at the direction of County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, is expected to address members of the Castaic council sometime next month, one council member told The Signal.
“I’m very concerned that we in Waterworks 36 will be orphaned,” Carder said.
“According to LAFCO we’ll lose our representation,” he said, in a reference to losing the chance to elect someone who would represent them specifically on important water issues.
At least 5,200 people in Val Verde and parts of Castaic get their water from Los Angeles County Waterworks District #36.
They pay the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works directly for their water according to water use readings on 1,350 water meters.
Opposing SB 634
On Wednesday, Castaic Area Town Council members voted to approve Carder writing a draft letter opposing SB 634, Council Vice President Jessica Chambers told The Signal Friday.
Two of the council’s members abstained in the vote-taking, saying they needed more information, she said.
“I met with (County Supervisor) Kathryn Barger and (District representative) Rosalind Wayman yesterday (Thursday) and they are arranging someone to come to our town council meeting in June so that they can give the council more information on how SB 634 would affect district 36 if it gets passed,” Chambers said.
“They made some clarifications for me yesterday on the meeting but said it would be best to have someone come out to explain how this bill works as it does not include well 36,” she said.
Last month, water officials spoke to Castaic Area Town Council in an effort to allay fears of a takeover by the emerging new Santa Clarita Valley Water District.
However, if they’re not part of the new agency, Carder fears, then their only electoral option is the vote they can cast for County Supervisor.
“We won’t have any water board representation,” Carder said Friday. “I understand they would still sell water to us but we’re not represented.
“Unless it is spelled out specifically, we’ll have issues in the future,” he said. “Right now, we oppose it (SB 634), in its present form.”
According to the Local Agency Formation Commission for the County of Los Angeles, the “benefits of consolidation should clarify which agency (or agencies) are providing retail water service.”
LAFCO Executive Officer Paul Novak stated in his report to the commission earlier this month that: “SB 634 should clarify that the Castaic Lake Water Agency is not authorized to provide retail water service within the boundaries of Los Angeles County Waterworks District No. 36 – Val Verde.”
Castaic Area Town Council members were assured it would be business as usual once the bill was passed.
Last month, representatives of the two water agencies that have been working diligently these past two years to merge into one new all-encompassing water agency, tried to allay the fears of some council members.
Maria Gutzeit and Robert DiPrimio, presidents of boards that represent water retailer Newhall County Water District and water wholesaler CLWA respectively, told them: “The new Santa Clarita Valley Water District proposed in SB 634 will continue to be Waterworks 36’s water wholesaler and cooperative regional partner.
“WW 36 would continue as it is now, and provide retail service to its customers,” they said.
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