In my letter that was printed by the Tracy Press on July 12, I tried to make the point as to why the City’s proposed wastewater rate increase just plain stinks. I would like to add another chapter to this saga so that everyone gets the complete picture.
At its June 18 meeting, the City Council agreed to shorten Tracy Airport Runway 12/30 from 4,000 feet and a few inches to 3,997 feet. This 3-foot decrease in the length had nothing to do with the pending request to obtain funding from the Federal Aviation Administration to repave the runway. It was all about having the airport reclassified from a "medium" airport under FAA guidelines to a "small" airport. The bottom-line effect — Surland is now able to build more homes in its Ellis project, since it’s near the approach to Runway 12/30, because of the narrower safety zone approach that would come into play by having the airport classified as a small airport versus a medium airport.
In a conversation I had with one of our city leaders after the meeting, this person told me that it was their understanding that Surland will now be able to build anywhere between 100 and 200 more homes with the airport’s new small designation. The profit per lot is anywhere from $50,000 to $75,000, which translates to an extra $5 million to $15 million to Surland. With that extra money our council just put into Surland’s pocket, it should no longer be in need of the free $5.4 million wastewater treatment capacity it was given in the new development agreement when the airport was classified as a medium airport.
So how about doing the right thing, Mr. Les Serpa? As president of Surland and a Tracy native, you can agree to amend that development agreement to give up the $5.4 million free wastewater treatment capacity, since you can now build more houses, and give the rest of us in this town a little break on our water bill.