By Tom Clifford, Special to Riptide
City of Pacifica staff proposes that we borrow $2.1 million over three years from the wastewater treatment fund (Enterprise Fund).The proposed use of this borrowing is to pay off the pension obligation bond. Wasn’t this bond just refinanced in 2010?
The fund was set up to repair and replace the wastewater treatment system starting in 2020. The fund also owes $21 million in state loans payable by 2022, and another $11 million in bond obligations.
The fund now has the additional burden of being the primary source of funding for the $50 million judgment under the Clean Water Act (to correct conditions that led to a sewer spill on Linda Mar Beach).
This is the same fund that was plundered by City Council for years until the courts put a stop to it: $750,000 a year was transferred to the General Fund. That money has never been paid back.
City Council has a terrible record with paying back internal loans. Council loaned the Rockaway Beach Redevelopment Agency $6.5 million from the General Fund, and for years the agency found reason after reason not to repay that money. When the state took over the agency, Pacifica taxpayers lost.
Even if council does set up a repayment program, the Enterprise Fund will not have sufficient money left in it to meet all its obligations in a timely manner. The net result will be that our already high sewer fees will go much higher. Local businesses, hotels, and restaurants will see sewer bills that could put them out of business.
Homeowners on fixed incomes could find themselves unable to pay their property taxes and could lose their homes (sewer fees are collected as part of the total property tax bill).
Please contact your council members and say NO to this unwise plan.
Len Stone 650-355-5700
Mary Ann Nihart 650-359-7624
Karen Ervin 650-483-2692
Mike O’Neill 650-302-2470
Sue Digre 650-278-1606