I don’t believe that Mr. Howard’s explanation explains in full that there may be other options available to the residents of Discovery Bay. The article that was submitted and this rebuttal do not reflect the opinion of all five board members.
In my opinion, the statements made by Mr. Howard led the residents of Discovery Bay to believe the only way our town will remain in compliance with Title 22 regulations is to drill and operate a new well (well seven). The letter also suggests that our town is falling behind in its water and wastewater operations. That is simply not true.
It is quite possible that digging a new well may turn out to be necessary. However, I believe the residents should be given all options available to the town before a decision is made. There are other options available beside a new well.
In our 10-year master plan study there are multiple sections that point to adjustments in our existing facilities that will allow our system to increase flow capacity up to the required 200 gpm. Taking this proactive approach will keep the town in compliance with Title 22 regulations and remove the need to drill a new well.
If we take this far less costly step, the burden of paying the huge cost of a new well will be removed from the shoulders of the ratepayers. This action will give the board time to explore all of our options. During the water master plan presentation, our consultants advised the CSD board that if there is no new development started at this time, the adjustment to our present system will solve our Title 22 issues.
The 10-year master plan study and subsequent recommendations were based on multiple new housing development projects. Don’t misunderstand the point I am making here. Future development is necessary and inevitable in Discovery Bay, just as the expansion of our waste and freshwater system is. However, I believe at this time, Discovery Bay does not possess the necessary infrastructure needed to carry multiple new developments.
We lack fire protection, police protection, needed road improvements and a multi-million-dollar expansion of our water and wastewater systems in order to accommodate medium or large-scale development. I believe the required funds for this undertaking should come from developers, not ratepayers. Before we take any steps to expand our current facilities, it is imperative that the Community Services District board exhaust every avenue available to us in determining exactly which parties play which role in absorbing the substantial cost of these improvements.
When I ran for office three years ago, I made a promise to each of you that I would always represent your best interest in the decisions I made while serving as your representative on the CSD board. I believe every option should be explored when dealing with an important issue such as this.
In these tough economic times, spending approximately $2 million of ratepayer money on a possibly unneeded well is, in my opinion, wrong. I believe that we have enough time to wait at least two years, while the economy rebounds, before we revisit this costly and sensitive issue again. During that time, the CSD board and staff can do extensive research into the possibility of any third party obligations with regard to absorbing future system expansion costs.