Letters to the Editor for June 19, 2012

Written by Union Democrat staff June 19, 2012 11:35 am

Ways to improve TUD operations

To the Editor,

Here are my opinions:

The Tuolumne Utilities District exists to provide water and sewer services to its paying customers.

Individually and collectively, the Board of Directors have fiduciary duties to preserve the integrity of the Water Enterprise fund and the Sewer Enterprise fund. Only short term borrowing between funds is legal. Paying back just $100,000 annually  on a $9 million loan is unreasonable. 

At minimum there should be a secured promissory note, with interest, and a due-in-full date.

Proper management requires eliminating the red ink. 

The new rate increases, effective July 1, alone, don’t provide enough cash to balance the budget. TUD’s payroll for 2012- 2013 is projected at $9.58 million dollars. 

Recent CalPERS actions require greater health insurance payments. 

The ratepayers do not have unlimited deep pockets to fund ever escalating increases.

Here are some easy T.U.D. changes: Post all public notices at the County Administration building; publish monthly financial statements; lower the threshold for bidding to promote competition; curtail all travel until the budget is balanced; eliminate the $100 per meeting directors’ stipends; eliminate directors’ benefits and directors’ health care; lease vehicles and equipment rather than buying; furlough non-essential employees; and, hire only part-time help without benefits.

A more difficult and challenging task is to reduce overhead, personnel, and benefit costs. I seriously wonder if the current board is up to the task.

Jim Grinnell

Sonora