Friday, June 17, 2005

Wave Wall? As they said on Seinfeld last night, "I don't like the sound of that."

Happy Friday...

I came across this rendering of the treatment facility, and, boy, does that "wave wall" look expensive. The cost of that is on the park. Oh, and all of that pretty landscaping, that's not cheap, and that cost is on the park.

Joe Sparks made some good comments (when the "comments" section existed), and if he's right about the $10-million price tag for the permits, EIRs, studies, etc. required for a park-less, out-of-town facility, then the Los Osos CSD should really do that. Wow, they would save a bundle on not having to build the "wave wall," not having to bury the facilities, not having to build and maintain the park, and they would profit from selling 11 acres of prime real estate. All of that sounds like it adds up to a lot more than $10 mil.

Then, once you have that $10 million worth of permits, etc. in hand, you're good to go... without a disastrously expensive park in the plan. Fast-track a bare-bones, technically viable facility out of town, and get this damn thing over with. What's the problem? It sounds so simple.

"All in favor of voting for another $10 million to 'move the sewer' (permits, EIRs, studies, consultants, etc.), raise your hands?"

I'm raising my hand.

Have a great weekend!


  • Ron,

    You greatly simplify the question.

    There is no question in almost anybody's mind that by placing a plant outside of town could potentially save $10-$30 million (I'm skeptical of any more than that) for the system. The amenities/wall probably don't account for more than around $2-4 million of the cost. It's the footings, the high level of treatment, and probably the jacked-up bids that do. And the whole town gets credit for the jacked-up bids, not just the board.

    It's just not a simply analysis of spend $10 to save $30 or so million. That would be a no brainer. It's all about the risks.

    Time: It will take time, and if history is an indication, 4-5 years could be realistic. That means that inflation alone could add back $10-$30 million. Not to mention further water degradation.

    Fines could add back another $10 million. The town has little recourse but to beg for pity from the state to reduce the fines. Not to mention dealing with potential cease-and-desist orders.

    Land-Use; Outside of town could bring PG&E in to equation and the county into the equation in a larger role. Maybe even the cemetary folks. Cost will be incurred, and that cost is not understood.

    But the two biggest risks are these:

    1)Will there be low-interest funding available in 4-5 years? The funds have been dwindling, with lots of municipalities competing for funds due to upgrades. 6% vs. the present 2.2% means would cost the district about $30 million in interest alone.

    2)There likely has to be another assessment vote. Recovered monies must be used to pay back the present assesment. And any board member or district staff that tries to spend the Tri-W specific bond on an alternate project is bringing into play some thorny legal issues, and does so at their own risk.

    To even fund/approve another bond could take almost 2 years! Tell me, why as a property owner who paid county taxes, and voted for a specific treatment plant, why should I place ANY trust in Los Osos Nation to not botch things up again.

    Oh, of course, now this time we'll get it right because the new set of civian 'experts' are better than our old set of civilian 'experts'. One thing for certain is, I've watched for 10 years as Los Osos has fashioned themselves 'experts' resulting in almost every consultant, wastewater engineer, corporation, contractor (THE PEOPLE THAT DO THIS FOR A LIVING) get bad-mouthed or sued by this town of self-fashioned 'experts'. I've sniped a little myself.

    People always say 'I support and want a wastewater system', but there is a sizeable segment of Los Osos that will attach itself to any argument or a concern to the contrary (primarily because the cost), and that manifests itself in obstruction and delays and increased costs.

    Sorry for rambling, but back to why should property owners vote for yet another assesment? My simple answer is, I don't want to take the risk.

    And I won't vote to stop or for another assesment unless the County, the RWQCB, the Coastal Commission, PG&E, and every single citizen of Los Osos signs an enforceable document to cooperate and bend every possible rule/law for the express purpose of getting a damn low-cost system in, and the state agreees to hold the loan for 4 years.

    Get them all to agree and sign, and then I will support changing course!

    By Anonymous Joe Sparks, at 2:38 PM, June 17, 2005  

  • Fair enough... there are a lot of things there that I would like to respond to, and, if I get some time, I will (but it's a nice Friday afternoon now, and, you remeber that whole "lazy" thing I mentioned in my first post, right?) but I did want to respond to this real quick:

    "Tell me, why as a property owner who paid county taxes, and voted for a specific treatment plant, why should I place ANY trust in Los Osos Nation to not botch things up again."

    That's a good point, and it's unfortunate that that argument is there. Because, the way I read it is that the "out-of-the-box" thinking of the Solution Group blew Los Osos' only chance at an alternative with their deeply flawed Community Plan.

    That logic doesn't sound fair to me. But, I don't blame you for being skeptical.

    Thanks again for the comments.

    By Blogger Ron, at 3:17 PM, June 17, 2005  

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