Friday, July 31, 2009

Miller Named Pilot City Editor & Sanitary District Approves Rate Increase


MICHAEL MILLER NAMED PILOT CITY EDITOR
Veteran Times Community Newsman Michael Miller has been named City Editor of the Daily Pilot, to replace the recently-departed Paul Anderson. This is good news for those of us who value the contributions of the Daily Pilot to our communities and attests to the bench strength of the Times Community News family of newspapers.

LONG, STRONG TIMES COMMUNITY NEWS BACKGROUND
Miller, whose byline will be familiar to Daily Pilot readers, has most recently been the City Editor of the Huntington Beach Independent and has done tours in Glendale and also at the Daily Pilot. He also runs his own publishing company, specializing in poetry. We wish Michael the very best in this new assignment.


COSTA MESA SANITARY DISTRICT RATE INCREASE
I attended the Costa Mesa Sanitary District Board meeting Thursday evening, to hear the reasoning behind the 10% rate increase proposed for most residential users of it's services. The meeting was an eye-opener, for sure. Held in the cramped conference at the headquarters on 19th Street - across the street from the DMV - only three non-staffers were present. In addition to myself there was a woman who wandered in on her way home from work because she had never attended any public meeting in her life and was curious, plus the grand daughter of Board Chair Arlene Schafer.

BUDGET INFORMATION FINALLY AVAILABLE
I attended mainly to try to get my hands on recent budget information. When I first heard about the proposed rate increase I wondered why such a large jump was necessary and figured a quick scan of the budget for the Sanitary District might give me a clue. I was flummoxed to find no current budget information available online. That has now been remedied, but I have not taken the time to compare the last two years - those that had been missing earlier - to see how they plan to spend the increase in revenue.

NEW GENERAL MANAGER
I do know that a decision has been made to split the job previously held by General Manager/Chief Engineer Robin Hamers into two distinct positions, with Hamers remaining as Engineer and a new person hired as the GM. Presently Donald McIntyre holds the position of "Interim General Manager". I don't know if this will double the administrative costs and how that works out since Hamers has really been a contractor, with his company providing engineering consulting support, including his presence as Chief Engineer. I don't know if Hamers will take a pay cut or if this new position will involve significant additional dollars - to be paid for every time you flush your toilet.

10% SEWER FEE INCREASE APPROVED

In any event, the board approved the increase as proposed. While a healthy percentage increase, it really only represents around $6.00 per year, per parcel served. Not much to ask to keep the effluent flowing. They received only two protests out of the more than 25,000 connections served. It's obvious to me after having attended that meeting that they could be paving the sewers with gold and no one would care.

MORE TO COME AFTER BUDGET REVIEW
More on the Sanitary District after I've had a chance to review the budgets.

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