Mark Simon: Water-Meter Project is Failing Discovery Bay Residents

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Dear Editor:

The decision of the Discovery Bay Community Services District (CSD) board of directors to finance the $3 million water-meter-installation project by adding it to the upcoming bond total is foolish and not in the best interest of the Discovery Bay residents.

I commend directors Kevin Graves and Chris Steele for voting against this poor decision and, at the same time, ask the question that all Discovery Bay residents should be asking. What in the world are directors Bill Pease, Bill Mayer and Robert Leete thinking?

The Town of Discovery Bay has limited income, which is derived solely from property taxes and water. There is barely enough income to cover our normal operating expenses, which include a yearly payment of close to $1 million to cover our current $14 million bond. Now, by adding more than $3 million to the equation, we will be adding another annual bond payment of approximately $700,000. Anyone with half a brain knows the only way to cover that expense will be to continue to raise water rates.

The CSD board of directors has decided to offer residents the opportunity to finance the water-meter-installation project, while at the same time collecting a profit of 4.5 percent interest over a 10-year period. The money is currently sitting in a reserve account, and that money already belongs to the residents of Discovery Bay – this offer makes absolutely no sense to me.

Before I left the board at the end of 2016, we had discussed this project in depth, and long-term financing with interest was never part of that discussion. I believe now, as I did then, at least 30 percent of our residents will pay the installation charges up front. This means that close to one-third of the money spent to install the meters will be back in the bank almost immediately, yet the town will be making bond payments on the same money for the next 30 years.

If the board had gone with the plan we had discussed, which was a three-year finance with no interest, over half of the $3 million would be back in the bank in the first year. There is no logical reason for the CSD board of directors to include 30-year financing of the water-meter project in the upcoming bond. By going ahead with their plan, the board is forcing the community to not only pay more than $900 for their meter installation, but also to pay 10 years of interest to the town, along with 30 years of interest to cover the cost of the annual bond payment.

Financing the water-meter project is foolish and, to me, shows poor planning and a lack of concern for the Discovery Bay residents’ well-being.

I am sorry we didn’t finish planning this project before I left the board in 2016. If we had, my vote, along with directors Graves and Steele, would have stopped directors Pease, Mayer and Leete from forcing the residents of Discovery Bay to abide by this ridiculous decision. Residents of our community need to let the CSD board know this plan is wrong for our town.

Mark Simon
Discovery Bay

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2 COMMENTS

  1. This is a great letter and is very succinct. DB residents need to keep a close watch on this. If this is true the new directors are not making good decisions. Not happy with this at all

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