Union Democrat staff

TUD rate increase

To the Editor:

TUD customers need to question the TUD board and staff about the proposed water rate increase. The non-conservation monthly meter cost will go from $27.06 to $40.64, a 50 percent increase.

TUD has cumulatively gathered millions of dollars in unfunded liability. Some of these liabilities are: PERS retirement for approximately 3 million, retiree's medical insurance for 8 million, repaying waste-water fund for millions, debt service for millions and developing a capital project account.

Hopefully, the TUD board and staff has a plan to address these budget shortfalls, other then by just continuing to raise rates. Its current budget has increased without trying to hold the line on cost. Even the proposed rate increase has a built in growth factor of 2.78 percent.

In the current budget, overtime budget increased from $117,000 to $218,000, and with many new vehicles. It's time for TUD to tighten their budget belt.

TUD board and management staff need to think hard about local economic conditions in Tuolumne County.

The TUD board needs vision and creativity for the future, but the future goes beyond five years for recovery.

TUD board and staff need to develop policies to reduce the budget costs, starting with spending 78 percent on labor, more prioritizing projects, looking at their daily expenses, or maybe a zero growth budget for several years. If the board doesn't do something soon, the cost will not be sustainable for its customers.

TUD customers need to ask its board of directors to truly justify their budget needs and policies or the increases will continue yearly.

John Maciel

Twain Harte

Highway 4 Trees

To the Editor:

It is with great disgust and sadness that the trees along the new Highway 4 and Pool Station Road bypass are being chopped down. Why didn't the higher-ups not consider an alternate plan of attack?

What a shame for man to hew down God's gift to us, just to put in a new road and not consider His backyard.

I am sure that an alternate plan could have saved the trees and not made it an asphalt jungle. What a barren landscape it is going to be.

Why didn't the citizens of Calaveras County object to the ruination and destruction?

Wes Wellmaker

Los Altos