Union Democrat staff

TUD in need of financial overhaul

To the Editor:

As many know, I broke my ankle and resigned as a director of Tuolumne Utilities District, a county agency owned by the people.

Annual audit footnotes show "Other Post Employment Benefits" (called OPEB). The unfunded portion was $11,497,000 on June 30, 2011. The recent 2013 audit did not update this. So, over $13 million now? Probably. Dedicated employees have bargained for, worked for, and expect to receive these medical benefits.

According to the previous audited financial statements, at June 30, 2011, the Water Enterprise fund owed the Sewer Enterprise fund some $8,980,938. During 2011-2012, $1,738,996 was repaid. During 2012-2013, $493,371 was repaid. As of June 30, 2013, $6,748,571 owed. Without paying any interest!

I believe: Water Enterprise fund should be paying at least two percent annual interest, probably three percent.

And, no promissory note and lack of a due date is certainly unprofessional.

Over the past seven years, management and the directors failed to restrict the use of Sewer Enterprise funds to only sewer projects and sewer upgrades.

I believe it is time for a major financial overhaul of TUD. Expenses exceed revenues. Losing over a million dollars a year in cash, with deteriorating infrastructure, and growing post employment benefit costs, the operation is unsustainable. Tuolumne County deserves better.

Don't blame the current board for these problems. They go back years. For example, the commingled cash account has made it too easy to spend when the cupboard is bare. It is time that the directors take serious action.

Jim Grinnell


Tea Party fiasco cost us all

To the Editor:

I have been a political nut since I was 13 years old and had the pleasure of seeing Eisenhower elected president. Over the years I have voted for Republicans and for Democrats but none of the fringe candidates.

Now we have the Tea Party, a segment of the Republican Party, who want (and I quote from the Tea Party's website) "fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free market economic policies."

Well, their fiscal responsibility only cost the U.S. economy $24 billion as reported by S&P. The 16 days of limited government hurt a lot of small people big time. And the free market is concerned about the U.S.'s economic policies with regard to paying its bills.

Everyone should have goals that are a challenge to reach. Having a plan that is not self-destructive is helpful.

No one political party has all the right answers for our country.

Our government at its best when liberals and conservatives work together, compromising for the good of the people.

May God continue to bless America!

Jerry Hatcher


Lime Kiln road work much appreciated

To the Editor:

We relocated our restaurant to Mountain Springs Golf Course four years ago this November. It has been a difficult move for my clientele maneuvering past the potholes on Lime Kiln Road.

This letter is to express our gratitude to whomever deemed the paving of Lime Kiln Road a priority. It is a pleasure to drive this scenic road now. Thank you again.

Rob and Rosetta Bannwarth

Owners of Banny's Restaurant