Letters to the editor for Jan. 2, 2012

Union Democrat staff

TUD ratepayers

need representation

To the Editor:

Tuolumne County ratepayers cannot maintain the Tuolumne Utility District management and workforce budgeting pattern of privilege entitlements. We need TUD to operate on sound business principles, using a strategy that ensures efficiency and consistency in staffing within ratepayer's limited financial resources.

TUD cannot operate under the "magical thinking" that the economy will rebound at any moment. It's time to pursue financial viability and stability with negligible growth and recovering economy in a flat housing market, while controlling costs and still encouraging investment.

As a direct result of the recent public outrage at TUD's proposed rate increase, 12 people have applied for one vacant board seat.

I hope that these applicants will support these issues as established in the public forum over the last few weeks: Adopt Dr. Retherford's Nine Step Program for balancing the budget negating any need for a rate increase - as presented at the Dec. 13 hearing. If not: Work with TUD board members and management to create an alternate plan to reduce and control operating costs, while reviewing the condition of all system infrastructures.

The best applicant should: (1) Know what comprises a "sound business strategy" and how labor and benefit packages can disable the 'bottom line' of any company or public entity; (2) Be able to understand the complicated structure of utility resource management and infrastructure; (3) Be willing to explore options and involve the public if there is a "worst-case" scenario with the system infrastructure before enforcing rate increases; (4) Work to implement a usage-based sliding scale rate plan for low or fixed income households, used by many utility companies.

Above all else, I hope that the applicant will be committed to representing the interest of TUD ratepayers.

Paul Bell


The Union Democrat
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