At its special meeting of April 16, the City Council was presented with a report from staff recommending that the wastewater fees paid by the businesses and residents of the City of Tracy be increased.
Several months earlier, the Council approved a developer agreement for the Ellis project. One of the concessions given to Surland (the developer of Ellis) was free wastewater treatment capacity worth approximately $5.4 million. During the April 16th meeting, the question was asked of Steve Bayley, the deputy director of public works, how long the proposed outfall pipeline and need for a wastewater fee increase had been – pardon the pun – “in the pipeline.”
Mr. Bayley’s honest answer was it had been in the works for over a year; i.e. it was something the City knew was going to be necessary while negotiating the Ellis development agreement with Surland. This lurking increase was not disclosed by the Council during its discussions prior to the approval of the Ellis development agreement earlier this year.
In another moment of honesty, when Councilman Charles Manne asked Mr. Bayley whether or not giving Surland the free $5.4 million in wastewater treatment capacity would have had an impact on the amount of the increase in wastewater rates being sought, Mr. Bayley answered that it would be a third less had Surland not been given this benefit by our Council. Thus, instead of the proposed $3 per month increase sought for this year, with another $3.35 per month increase sought for July 2015, the amounts of the increases would have been approximately $2 and $2.23 per month, respectively.
All the residents and business owners of this City need to let the Council know that we will not pay the freight for the free wastewater treatment capacity given to Surland for Ellis. This is another example of “corporate welfare” where the people are being nickled (sic) and dimed to death footing the bill for large moneyed interests.
I urge you to contact the interim public works director, Rod Buchanan, and voice your opposition to the proposed rate increase being considered by the Council on July 16. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. When you write or email to Mr. Buchanan, provide your full name and address and proof that each of you is truly a resident and/or business owner in our city and that you are against the proposed wastewater rate increase.
Steve Nicolaou, Tracy