Letters to the Editor for February 23, 2012

Union Democrat staff /

TUD Board needs supportTo the Editor: TUD Water Board needs your help to make the right decisions for TUD customers and the agency to continue with reasonable water rates. The Board is in the process of reopening negotiations with the District Staff Union. Currently, TUD staff has one of the best fringe benefit packages in the county for employees, with TUD customers paying majority of the cost. They are hardworking people, but TUD customers cannot continue paying TUD staff these outrageous benefits. For each $1 of salary, a TUD staff member receives an additional 78 cents worth of benefits. By comparison, county staffers receive 52 cents per dollar of salary in benefits. The board of directors needs to hear from its customers for support in reducing benefits. These are hard decisions for a board to make, but this is critical in order to set their budget on track. If no action is done, water rates will continue to go up. The discussion on water rates has been postponed. Customers need to continue providing feedback to the board. At the last board meeting, a statement was made by management staff about what is the connection between reducing staff salary costs by 15 percent and repairing water tanks. To me, the connection is very easy -"money." The district salary budget with benefits, (per district documents) is over $9,900,000.00. If you take 15 percent of that cost that equals $1,486,500 dollars. That's big money - enough to fund 95 percent of the proposed tank repairs presented to the board by staff. The TUD Board of Directors needs your help and support to make the correct decision for the agency and customers. The next board meeting is Feb. 28, at 7 p.m. John Maciel Twain Harte

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