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Don't Believe Your Water Bill? City to Snap Pictures of the Meter

CITY MANAGER'S REPORT: Also, work at the Junipero Serra-Rancho Viejo roads intersection, a proposal for new apartments and the San Diego Gas & Electric project.

NEW FEATURE FOR WATER-METER READING: The city's meter-reading company, Alexander’s, introduced a new feature when reviewing meter reads for billing. If the meter reader is alerted that the water consumption is outside of a set parameter, he or she will then take a picture of the meter and read dial which will then be available for viewing to verify the information before proceeding with billing. This photo will be available to customers upon request.

STREET WORK ON RANCHO VIEJO ROAD AT JUNIPERA SERRA: Construction work has been completed to add an additional southbound through lane on Rancho Viejo Road at the Junipero Serra Road intersection. The last order of work, the roadway striping and signing, was completed on Friday, Oct. 5. If you have any questions about the work, please contact the Vity’s project manager, Khoon Tan at (949) 443-6353, during normal business hours.

RANCHO SAN JUAN APARTMENTS: The project to develop 100 apartment units at the Whispering Hills project area on La Pata next to San Juan Hills High School is scheduled for an Environmental Impact Scoping Meeting 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, in the City Council Chambers.

SAN DIEGO GAS & ELECTRIC PROJECT: The city’s mayoral subcommittee, known as the San Diego Gas and Electric Aesthetics Mitigation Team, met with SDG&E representatives Wednesday, Oct. 10, to kick-off a review of SDG&E’s South Orange County Reliability Project that includes replacing the historic substation located on Camino Capistrano, as well as installing fencing and landscaping.

TRAIL ALIGNMENT: The Open Space, Trails & Equestrian Commission considered potential trail alignment options for the trail mandated by the purchase and sale agreement between the city and Rancho Mission Viejo. The Commission requested additional information and continued the item.

LA PATA AVENUE WIDENING AND EXTENSION: The county and its consultants Huitt-Zollars Engineering and LSA Associates made a recent presentation to the Development Advisory Board on the $80 million project. The project totals approximately 4 miles in length (approximately one-third of that in San Juan Capistrano). The city has received 65 precent of the design plans and the county is pursuing 90 percent of the plans. Staff requested the county present aesthetic concerns to the Design Review Committee at a future meeting and also to the City Council.

REATA PARK AND EVENT CENTER: The environmental review is expected to be completed and posted with the County Clerk next week to start the 30-day public review. The environmental review is scheduled for the Planning Commission on Oct. 23, and the environmental and project design are scheduled for City Council consideration on Nov. 13.

REDEVELOPMENT DISOLUTION: The Finance Department completed another item on the redevelopment dissolution checklist for the state Department of Finance. The due diligence review of the housing funds transferred from the former Redevelopment Agency to the Successor Agency are required to be reviewed to determine what amounts may be retained by the Successor Agency and what amounts will be required to be sent to the County Auditor-Controller for distribution to other taxing agencies. The Oversight Board will consider the report at its regular meeting on Oct. 17, for approval and transmittal to the state Department of Finance.

DEL OBISPO STREET BRIDGE WIDENING: In the past week, the contractor constructed forms and placed concrete for the curb at the southwest corner of Del Obispo and Alipaz streets, to the south side of the retaining wall. Workers also completed installing steel in the sidewalk on the south side of the bridge, and it was inspected. The traffic signal subcontractor relocated the interconnect wiring and performed signal work at the intersection of Alipaz and Del Obispo. They also started working on removing an existing buried footing at the southeast corner of Paseo Adelanto and Del Obispo Street.

Work will continue on the south side of the bridge, affecting only the new bike lane and existing sidewalk. The project is scheduled for completion by the end of October.

I-5/CAMINO CAPISTRANO INTERCHANGE: Project construction began in July 2010, and is scheduled for completion by the end of March 2013. The contractor has been working on the freeway bridge over San Juan Creek Road, requiring some night street closures.Phase 1 of the construction is expected to be completed in late October, which will open up traffic lanes on the east side of Camino Capistrano, south of the I-5 ramps, and remove the barricades on San Juan Creek Road. Phase 2 will shift construction to the west side of Camino Capistrano to construct an additional southbound lane south of the ramps.For more information, contact the Caltrans project manager, David Richardson, at (949) 724-2341.

STREET BANNER: Letters have been sent out to interested parties regarding installation of banners for 2013, at the intersection of Del Obispo Street and Camino Capistrano. Community-based, nonprofit organizations which are interested in reserving a date in 2013, can access the banner application from the city’s website at www.sanjuancapistrano.org. The deadline for applications is Monday, Oct. 15. For additional information, please call 949-443-6362.

GROUNDWATER RECOVERY PLANT: The City Council awarded the bids for the material and labor for the rehabilitation of the three greensand filter vessels at its Sept. 18 meeting. A purchase order for the materials went out last week. Additionally, the bid for the services to remove and replace the filter media will be going to the City Council on Oct. 16 for consideration. All work is expected to be completed the last week in November.

Jim Reardon October 15, 2012 at 04:34 AM
There might well be a few people who are worried that their water meter was misread. But what gets their attention is the size of their bill. The charges on the bill the result of an allocation-based tiered water rate system that is at once incomprehensible to customers and unpredictable. Under the present arrangement, taking a photo of the meter only protects the city's claim for their exorbitantly priced water. It does nothing to help the hapless customer who is left scratching his head about the tiers, the length of the billing period, the so-called allocation, the lot size, the percentage of lot occupied by the home, and the infernal weather. Photos of water meters will simply add to the cost to deliver water in San Juan Capistrano. Why bother? However, I'm betting that the photos of most meters won't be identifiable to a specific meter, requiring that the city revert to the old system of averaging multiple readings to get to the right charge. But of course, with allocation-based rates and tiers, it is never the right charge. So this solution is essentially a do-nothing and accomplish nothing action made by people who refuse to look closely at the root cause of their problem.
Kim October 15, 2012 at 04:46 PM
What a dismal City Manager's report. I agree Mr. Reardon, look at the root of the water problem....photos...it's non-sense. What jumps out at me, in addition to the water tiered system of billing, is the corrective street work at Junipera Serra/RV Road, Mr Alaveto's award winning intersection! What is it costing to reverse the mess? SDGE, shame on them...their plan is a behemoth ugly building at the entrance of our lovely community in addition to adding more electricity to the existing lines....Whats next? I can olny hope for new City Council members to end this madness..
Kim October 15, 2012 at 04:46 PM
What a dismal City Manager's report. I agree Mr. Reardon, look at the root of the water problem....photos...it's non-sense. What jumps out at me, in addition to the water tiered system of billing, is the corrective street work at Junipera Serra/RV Road, Mr Alaveto's award winning intersection! What is it costing to reverse the mess? SDGE, shame on them...their plan is a behemoth ugly building at the entrance of our lovely community in addition to adding more electricity to the existing lines....Whats next? I can olny hope for new City Council members to end this madness..
Jim Carter October 15, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Kim I'm not sure why you think a tiered water rate system of billing is bad? It's a way of rewarding water conservation that is used by many water districts in Orange County and it is simple. As you begin to use more water the rate you pay goes up until you hit a rate of "wasteful". People who conserve water pay the least and people who waste water pay the most. Unless you waste water this policy works for you in providing lower rates. Frequently when water usage in a dirstict goes up a water district pays more for its water so water districts need to provide an incentive for conservation use. The old method would be to apply a penalty on everyone or prohibit watering during certain days and establish the "water police" to report people watering during prohibited days. Compared to tired rates this doesn't work very well unless you like more governmental restrictions and control. So, in 2009 the California Legislature passed AB 2882 making allocation-based conservation water pricing a legally defensible water rate structure. This law protects reasonably priced service for basic water needs while simultaneously penalizing wasteful water use. No need for the water police and no need for water citations, you just pay more when you are wastefull.
Alberto Barrera October 16, 2012 at 02:40 AM
I'm still laughing at the fact that the Del Obispo widening project was supposed to have been completed in May(http://sanjuancapistrano.patch.com/articles/del-obispo-widening-set-to-begin-this-week). Anyone willing to cough up twenty bucks?(http://sanjuancapistrano.patch.com/articles/city-manager-s-update-july-14-2012)
SJCNative October 16, 2012 at 06:50 AM
My suggestion is that you might want to read the City of Palmdale vs Palmdale Water. Palmdale vs Palmdale Water became case law in October of last year. In addition, I would also suggest Proposition 218. Proposition 218 states that a City may not charge more for a service than what it costs to provide that service. Under a tiered water structure, anything the city charges greater than the base rate, is in violation of Proposition 218 as it does not cost the city anymore to provide water at a tier three water rate than it does a base water rate. Yet, the City is charging 100% more at a tier three water rate. Who determines what is wasteful? Why does a family that two people in a three bedroom home have a allocation of 6 ccf, and a family six in that same three bedroom home still have an allocation of 6 ccf? Is that right? The family of six is being penalized by the city for using too much water, yet they have the same exact size home and garden as the family of two. Fortunately, the City of Palmdale vs Palmdale Water has eliminated the tiered water structure.
thejellyfish October 16, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Well, now we know at least where the red light cameras went to.....
Jim Carter October 16, 2012 at 09:00 PM
The foundation for conservation can be found in the California Constitution in Article X, Section 2. It says that the water resources of California must be put to beneficial use to the fullest extent of which they are capable. Section 100 says that the waste of water shall be prevented and the water of the state shall be conserved in the interest of the people and for the public welfare. Proposition 218 found that water service is indispensible to property ownership. In AB2882 which clarified Proposition 218 it was argued that wastefull water consumption is not indispensible to property ownership and therefore should not fall under Proposition 218. We only have to look at another Orange County water agency(Irvine Ranch Water District) that implemented an allocation-based conservation rate structure in the 1990's to see the benefits. Between 1992 and 2005 the average landscape water use decreased 61%. This has been accomplished by rewarding Efficiency and Discourageing waste, all without the "water police". As a bonus the conservative users don't pay for the few wasteful users excesses.
Ross October 25, 2012 at 04:12 AM
Jim Carter obviously lives in a 400 square foot condo and is completely clueless about how thie tiered system penalizes and SJC water customer with an actual yard with grass and a few teenagers who take showers. How can anyone possibly defend a system that charges SJC residents DOUBLE what it would cost to simply purchase 100% of our water from the MWD???? I have now replaced roughly 50% of my grass with articial turf and immediately shut down all sprinklers at the first hint of rain and my monthly bill still cannot escape tier 4! I hope that any SJC registered voter with half a brain votes out Allevato and Kerr and vote in McCarthy & Byrnes!

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