Review by Citizens for Affordable Living of the City’s “Special Meeting/Study Session” held April 25, 2018 and moderated by the League of Women’s Voters.
Well folks — the City assembled their team and tried to convince us all again that their plan to move our sewer three miles uphill while spending at least $150M is great idea.
They pulled in the ‘big guns’ to support it: Supervisor Bruce Gibson, Dr. Wolff and Harvey Packard (Water Quality Control Board), and Eric Howell (California Coastal Commission – commissioner). Added to the list were the new Project Director from Carollo Engineering, Public Works Director Rob Livick, City Attorney Joseph Pannone, and Utilities Division Manager Joe Mueller. Quite a cast!
The PW Director stated that no underground sewer lines have been repaired (although they have been known to have leaked for many years now), and that they won’t be repaired until Carollo finishes their OneWater report — which won’t be complete for another year, or so.
The Water Quality Control Board gave a draconian picture of possible fines the City could incur if the project is delayed. Most of it was bunk, since the Water Board primarily issues fines for major infractions, and issues no fines for public agencies who are planning sewer projects — as long as the planning is moving forward. CAL’s plan to find a more affordable solution at 1/3 the cost of the current budget WILL MOVE THE PROJECT FORWARD, but in a new direction. The result — no fines.
The Coastal Commission representative (Erik Howell) made it clear (rudely) that the CCC would not allow a new plant to be built at the current site. Of course, the City has not submitted a formal CDP proposal to the CCC since the Mayor Irons’ self-inflicted wound of requesting denial of the pending permit in 2013, so anything the CCC may say or write at this point has no validity. The City should have made a formal submittal when they reevaluated the 17 sites recently. It may not have made a difference, but we’ll never know. Anyway—pretty much everybody around these parts knows that the City AND the CCC want the land use (currently “light industrial”) changed to “visitor serving”, where the CCC would like a park or RV area, and the City would like a hotel.
League of Women’s Voters did a reasonably good job of asking the question — and pushing the panel a bit when they gave evasive answers. Nevertheless, the evening was largely a well scripted “dog and pony” show — without discussion of any cost saving options.
CAL needs to stop this project now, or we will all be paying for it for generations to come. Please join us! We need worker bees, fund raisers, leaders, envelope stuffers, table talkers, and street walkers!
We meet every Wednesday at 1pm in the Chapel behind the Coalesce Bookstore on Main Street (next to Top Dog).
Mail donations to:
CAL, P.O. BOX 1822, Morro Bay, CA 93443-1822
Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeff Heller, Citizens for Affordable Living MB