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Letter: Comments about Lodi’s wastewater plant expansion overlooks several issues

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Posted: Tuesday, April 22, 2014 12:43 am

This is a letter in response to Richard Prima’s letter to the editor published March 27, Not all work on treatment plant was for growth.”

True, several years ago the wastewater transmission line from the city to the plant needed extensive repairs and cost several million dollars, and it was the financial responsibility of the ratepayers, but that a separate issue. The subject is about the wastewater treatment plant expansion/upgrade, which in 1991 cost the city $38 million.

The claim is that staff requires new development to reimburse the city for past and future expenses. The facts suggest the contrary. Why would developers ask staff for a reduction of impact fees, knowing they would be required to reimburse the city for that reduction?

There are several other issues that need mentioning.

The city pays several million dollars a year in principal and interest on bonds that financed the wastewater plant expansion, and a large percentage of this debt was incurred to expand the plant to accommodate future development. Developer impact fees should be paying 50 percent of this debt!

Staff has an incentive to build homes, which generates tens of thousands of dollars for each home built for permits and other fees, which goes into the city coffer, and helps pay for salary and retirement benefits. But it does nothing to mitigate the impacts to the city’s infrastructure.

This year’s city budget for 2013-14 consists of a $179,909,000 revenue projection and an expenditure of $177,800,000 in tax dollars spent to manage the everyday operations of the city.

The wastewater fund estimated revenue for this 2013-14 year $15,035,170, an increase of $800,000 from the previous year, and more rate increases are planned!

In 2010-11, the city had 455 employee positions on its roster. When the economy faltered, the city reduced that number to 394 employee positions. Even this seems more than adequate. The city’s practice of furloughing city employees is proof the city could downsize further. Why are the taxpayers paying for five days?

John Slaughterback

Lodi

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