I am looking ahead to June 3rd, which is the date of the Annual Meeting. I mention this now to allow time to plan ahead as it will be important that shareholders attend. I mentioned in last month’s Bubbler that there would be an extended Special Board Meeting on April 8th, for our Shareholders, please ignore that as we will be covering everything at the Annual Meeting in June.
The Board of Directors is going to be discussing the future of the water company, as the Board has been actively working on a strategic, long term plan to modernize and improve the infra-structure of BLSMWC.
As you have read in past postings, the Water Company has qualified and is ready to receive a 12.23M long term loan from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) at a very low interest rate, (currently 1.875%) to complete the task of modernizing our aging and inadequate infrastructure, up-dating our Water Treatment Facility, allowing the positioning of more fire suppression hydrants and completing the system with modern electronic meters, which will be mandated by the State of California by 2025.
As we move to comply with this State mandate on meters, we are examining a billing process to reflect consumptive use. Currently the majority of our water customers are paying for water service on an annual basis. If there is no meter present, there is no way to measure the amount of water used by the consumer. The newer process of billing will be based upon the combina-tion of a “basic water- rate” or “Shareholder fee” and applying the customer’s actual consump-tion or usage, as reported by the meter. The cost of the water will be tied to a multi-tiered schedule, which translates to “the more water you use—the more you pay.” The Long Range Planning Committee [LRPC] is presently developing a multi-tier method that would reflect leveled use. In order to reach a fair target use level, monthly meter readings have been collect-ed from a control group to get a feel for actual use, by full-time and part-time residences. The newly formatted billing process will kick-in soon after the entire system is metered and will be structured on a bi-monthly schedule. Those that will be most impacted by the base rate and meter program will be high consumers of water. There are many homeowners that feel that renters use more water than regular homes, the coming system will reflect such if true.
Recently and in some forums frequently, I am asked: “Why don’t we join with CCWD, like Fly-In Acres did…” I was not involved in the reasoning why Fly-In merged with CCWD, but I am guessing that Fly-In didn’t have many choices.
Were we to merge with CCWD based upon research into this matter done a few years ago, BLS would still be, at a minimum, on the hook for the improvements that we are about to under-take with the USDA loan. In addition CCWD indicated that they would have to expand their water treatment facility and that cost would be borne by BLS plus we would owe close to 3M in capacity/connection fees.
All of this will be discussed in length at the annual Meeting in June and once again, I would encourage you to attend.
PLEASE pay attention to the Annual Meeting Notice as the meeting will be starting earlier than the normal 9:00AM