Cam Noltemeyer: No to Wilk’s SB 634 water merger

SCV Voices: Guest Commentary
SCV Voices: Guest Commentary
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I am a Valencia Water Company ratepayer. If a water district merger is allowed in the Santa Clarita Valley, we will be a part of the new agency controlled by what is currently Castaic Lake Water Agency. Valencia Water is currently not a public agency.

In 2014 the California Public Utilities Commission stated that Valencia Water Company was no longer private but was no longer regulated by the commission.

When CLWA and the Newhall County Water District went behind closed doors to consider merging, they declared at their public meeting that Valencia Water was just an asset of CLWA. Only after four amendments to Senate Bill 634 was Valencia Water Company to be added to the new water district at a future date.

The Valencia Board of Directors is not elected. Since the board has taken over Valencia Water, the district has seen three rate increases in the past three years: 7.62 percent on May 1, 2015, 4.37 percent on January 1, 2016, and 2.32 percent on January 1, 2017. Also a revenue adjustment surcharge effective Oct. 1, 2016, for approximately one year.

Why all the rate increases and revenue adjustments? Perhaps you can find that under Stockholder’s Equity in the Valencia Water Company financial statements for 2015 and 2016.

“The Board of Directors authorized, and the company declared and paid dividends on its common stock of $799,000 during each of the years ended December 31, 2016, and December 31, 2015.”

Who did they pay the dividends, to you ask? Thank you for asking. I thought the same thing quite some time ago and I did a public records request to the Castaic Lake Water Agency. If you theorized the dividend of $799,000 a year went to CLWA, you would be right!

The way Valencia Water Company ratepayers have been treated is just one of many reasons that SB634 should not be approved. I could write a book on the other reasons.

A forensic audit needs to be done. A public vote needs to be required. They have spent far more on this deal, most of it in the back room, then any public vote would cost.

Cam Noltemeyer is a Valencia resident.

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