The Hi-Desert Water District has kept their nose to the grindstone making steady progress on the sewer project with very little fanfare. The Public Advisory Committee, consisting of 15 citizens, met this evening to work on the Low Income program to help seniors living in Phase One of the sewer project. Trying not to re-invent the wheel, they have reviewed several programs used successfully by other cities facing similar problems.
CFO/AGM Frank Luckino is concerned with the administrative costs and is quick to recommend the simple way of straight grants until the funds are used up versus a revolving fund that is paid back when the property sells which will help others at a future date. There are many pros and cons that need to be worked on before handing off this Low Income Assistance program for the HDWD Board approval. There was a casual polling of opinions to develop a consensus with five key members absent to weigh in. I suggested sending the poll to them by email so that their voices would be heard which the members agreed was a good idea.
Prior to discussing this item, the committee voted on selecting a new chair and vice chair. John Babrowski was selected to serve another year as the Chair, and Art Miller Jr. as Vice-Chair. Babrowski was the author/signatory for the rebuttal in favor of Measure U. Link Art Miller Jr. donated $1,000.00 towards the Political Action Committee to promote Measure U and owns many properties in Phase One of the sewer project. Measure U was a thirty-year 1% General Fund sales tax, which could not legally be dedicated to fund the sewers and was defeated by the voters November 2012.
Chair Babrowski suggested that I speak my three minutes during “Public Comments,” and not during the meeting. I informed him the public has the right to comment on any item that has been placed on the agenda. After one year as Chair, it seems Babrowski may not have an understanding of the public’s right to comment and should take some time to study the basics of the Ralph M. Brown Act.
Kudos to the Wastewater Citizen’s Advisory Committee for working on the framework of a Low Income Assistance program to be ready when the Citizen’s Initiative is passed funding this program. The Citizen’s Initiative will be a Special 1/2 % sales tax dedicated to fund the HDWD sewer project to lower the assessments with funds set aside to help the low-income. This Special Tax will require 2/3rds vote to pass.
For a quick peek at the rough draft of the program, click here link
Margo Sturges Author link