Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Letter to the Editor: AWA has failed in its Mission Statement


            The work of the Amador County Grand Jury of 2011-2012 has finally come to fruition and one of the issues addressed has been the conduct of business of one of the linchpins of the Community, the Amador Water Agency (AWA). Typically a Grand Jury investigation is the “Voice of the Community”, or the “People’s Panel” and still plays a significant role in public matters. It is no small event that the Agency has attracted the attention of the Grand Jury and that they have determined that the Agency has not effectively managed their finances nor demonstrated a commitment to public transparency. The investigation was initiated on the basis of complaints from ratepayers and citizens concerned with ballooning debt and an apparent lack of concern of from the AWA Board of Directors. Internal financial dealings and irregularities were at the top of the list…..the latest audit has yet to be reconciled from some four months ago, and AWA management seems to be OK with that as well as their overseers, the Board of Directors, whose indifference is of great concern. Management continues to be more crises centered rather than forward looking except when the all-encompassing issue of the GSL (Gravity Supply Line) comes to the fore.
            The GSL has been on the AWA agenda for more than 20 years and is just now of the highest priority in the eyes of current management and the Board. Financial strains that will be created as a result of the commitments thus made ($1.4 million to date and much of that is debt) and the uncertain future of financial commitments associated with this project has brought concern as to the financial health of the organization. While a USDA grant and loan combination of $13.4 million loom as the prize, the reality is that financial viability of this combination is questionable at best as the most recent update of the proposal is curiously unchanged since 2010. The proposed cost of construction is just under the combination of the loan and grant. As we all remember, the Amador Transmission Line (ATL) was originally only going to be $9 million and is significantly over $30 million currently. This has caused the AWA to pursue a new structure, a CFD (Consolidated Facilities District)...something reserved under the Mello-Roos Act for agencies with nowhere else to go for money except the property tax base of the community. It is unfortunate that the AWA has failed in its Mission Statement…"to provide safe, affordable, water, wastewater conservation and reclamation services” as a “professional team dedicated to public transparency, community partnerships and excellent customer service.” The working part of AWA, those serving the public at the customer level, did deservedly receive kudos for the work they do in spite of not having adequate budgeting for repairs and maintenance of infrastructure. The additional vision statement of “ensuring long term management of water resources and systems to meet Amador County needs and maintain financial solvency through responsible planning and management, I am just not so sure of. Check out the Grand Jury report on http://amadorwatchdog.org/
                                                           
Dale Telegan, Jackson 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Progressive Women's Committee - Thurs Aug 2

The Progressive Women's Committee will meet on Thursday, August 2, 2012, 11:30 a.m.
at Thomi's Banquet Room in Jackson. At this time there is no speaker scheduled, but as you know, those are often the most interesting meetings!
The buffet luncheon is $15.00 which includes an entree, vegetarian offering various drinks, coffee, tea, dessert, tax and tip.
Please pay at the door - cash (the exact amount is appreciated) or personal check only.
Please respond to Sally at trestrail@gotsky.com no later than Monday, July 31st (sooner if possible
Note:   If you make a reservation and cannot attend. PLEASE call me at 267-0177 to cancel by Wednesday at noon. You may be billed for the luncheon  if you do not show up and have not cancelled.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

ACN: Feedback

Thanks for your feedback on Amador Community News, Amador County!
Here are just a few comments I've received. Keep 'em coming!

Carol Harper, Editor
www.NewsAmador.com

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“Excellent format, easy to read and timely. It sure beats sifting through the Ledger Dispatch. Please keep up this outstanding service.”
George M.

“I like the blog.  It’s not “bouncy” with flashes and colors off to the side pulling your brain to the right when you’re trying to concentrate on an article. Everyone not-for-profit site that swears they will not sell advertising space eventually does, and then you’re left with a screen of “trash”, just like logging onto Yahoo or any of the other sites that are just plain hard to look at…very tasteful as well. The right side of the community high-lights is great, and having all the departments right at the top is a good idea. 
 You get an A+ for this blog!...thanks for the work you do on this.”
Tina S

“…ACN and the blog both are easy to read and are visually appealing…”
Ken B

City of Jackson Releases Draft Environmental Impact Report on Wastewater Project


From the Ratepayer Protection Alliance:

The City has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) to address the specific environmental effects of implementing the City of Jackson Wastewater Treatment Plan Improvement project that may require up to an 80% wastewater rate increase. The DEIR is available online here.

A 30-day public review period will be provided to receive comments on the adequacy of the Draft EIR. The comment period will start on July 27, 2012, and end on August 27, 2012. Written comments should be sent to: Mike Daly, Planner, City of Jackson, 33 Broadway, Jackson, CA 95642. Phone: 209-223-1646 Email: mdaly@ci.jackson.ca.us

A public meeting to receive comments will be held before the Jackson City Council on August 27, 2012, at 7:00 p.m. at 33 Broadway in Jackson. All comments will be addressed in the Final EIR which will be released for Council approval later this year.

Jackson faces a deadline in October to have a plan for dealing with State-mandated requirements for the sewer plant. At least part of the reason for the last-minute action is a key report whose conclusion was reversed by the DEIR. The faulty report led the Council to focus the project studies on an alternative that may require an 80% rate increase.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Amador Democrats meet Saturday July 21

The Democratic Club of Amador County will meet this Saturday July 21st from 10:00 to 12:00.  We will meet at our campaign headquarters at 829 Hwy 49/88, Jackson, CA.  The purpose of this gathering is good old-fashioned grassroots politics.
I need your help addressing envelopes for mailings for the November election.  One of us will be there till 5.  If you can stop by for an hour or two it would be a big help.  Come join the fun.

In Unity,
Steve Christensen
President
http://www.amadordemocrats.org/

Foothill Conservanc​y seeking Interim Executive Director

The Foothill Conservancy, a small 501(c)(3) community-based nonprofit conservation organization based in Pine Grove-Pioneer, is seeking an Interim Executive Director.

The position is FT limited-term with the potential to become permanent.

See job announcement and application information at:
 http://www.foothillconservancy.org/pages/events.cgi?calcatid=1&calid=410&_fn_=410.407.409

Foothill Conservancy
P.O. Box 1255
Pine Grove, CA 95665
http://www.foothillconservancy.org/