An open letter to the residents of Discovery Bay:
Last week, the Discovery Bay Press printed a letter, “Discovery Bay Needs New Well, Rates,” written by the town’s General Manager, Rick Howard. This letter was not approved by a majority of directors of the Community Service District before it was submitted to the newspaper. If it was reviewed at all, it was reviewed only by the board president, who was not authorized to approve the letter.
There is no secret that there are competing theories at play here. The “developer friendly” theory advocates for growth in Discovery Bay no matter the cost to our community. Another theory supports managed and fiscally responsible growth but only if it is in the best interest of our community.
Last week’s letter attempts to sell you, the residents of Discovery Bay, on the idea that our town needs to increase rates on sewer and water so “we will not continue to fall behind in our ability to meet our existing water and wastewater obligation and to remain in compliance with state health standards.” This is misleading. While we do need to increase rates to pay for necessary improvements to our existing system, we do not need to drill and operate a new well (well #7) to meet our existing or immediate water and wastewater obligations. Further, we do not need to borrow millions of dollars (increasing our debt) resulting in an even more substantial increase of our water rates.
Like the movie “Field of Dreams,” there are “developer friendly” advocates who want to “build it” so “they will come.” (“They” being developers.) This would require the board to authorize the borrowing of millions of dollars, now, with the “hope” that the developers will come and reimburse us, later. There is no certainty that they will come after we advance these funds. This would leave us with an overwhelming debt, an unnecessary well, and substantially increased rates.
The entire concept is backward. We do not “need” to build “it” to attract developers. Developers need to build it (or at least contribute to the funding of building it) as part of the developer’s reasonable growth proposal to our community.
In 2010, our board voted to commission a Water and Wastewater Master Plan. This plan identifies simple and fiscally prudent adjustments that can be made to our existing facility that are more than adequate to meet our needs and keep us in compliance with Title 22 regulations. This does not require creating millions of dollars in additional debt.
As your elected representative on the CSD board, I felt it my duty to speak out against last week’s misleading article and the manner in which it was published (without authorization). To date, no decisions about a new well have been made, no votes have been cast, and this deal is far from done. I will do my best to ensure only fiscally responsible growth in Discovery Bay.
Ray Tetreault, Director, Discovery Bay CSD