TIC, TIC, TAC
The Los Osos Wastewater draft TAC report is in. My thanks for all their hard work. They have done the community a real service by being a vital part of The Process.
If I understood correctly at the last meeting, they plan on doing some follow up charts that will illustrate various component-combined possibilities complete with pro/con and possible prices available to the community. The sample they were looking at really looked great since it combined icons as well as data so non-engineers in the community could see at-a-glance-the different “plans,” sorta like the graphics laying out different pricing plans for Dish TV, for example.
I do hope they’ll follow through with that notion and that the county will incorporate those pages into the pre-218 brochure they’ll be mailing out since it should give the community a quick view of the various options and combinations now under serious consideration, complete with guestimated price tags.
All of which will be helpful since it was clear from the BOS meeting yesterday, that there are now about a zillions balls in play, combining, recombining, and with a fast approaching Prop 218 vote looming, the community better have a pretty good grasp of at least several of the probabilities that will likely turn out to be The Real Deal.
In addition, I hope the community will still keep paying close attention. There still exists the possibility that sticky little fingers will sneak onto the scale or that Roger Briggs from the RWQCB will again run amok and threaten the whole delicate process. (A speaker quoted from one of the RWQC Board members, Dr. Press, when he spoke of a need to return to a “virtuous cycle, not a vicious cycle.” Too true. Mr. Briggs and his Board need to be reminded of Dr. Press’s observation.)
And Gail McPherson of PZLDF-Citizens for Clean Water, noted to Paavo Ogren, that she hoped he would “keep your word to the community as you have done so far,” to which Mr. Ogren replied that he hoped the community could see that this Process is doing just that. A reminder again how critical it is that The Process remain clean and transparent so everyone can see just how the wheels are turning and meshing and so see when any one wheel gets out of whack so it can be fixed in a timely manner.
Meantime, there are several things the TAC report have made crystal clear.
Sewer plant sites out of town are NOT waaayyy more expensive. There are now about NINE sites being looked at, not ZERO unavailable. No one has mentioned the “fact” that the Coastal Commission won’t allow sewer pipes to cross a creek. The Tri W site isn’t the ONLY site that will work. The Broderson site was never able to carry the full load of recharge, so the old Tri-W project needed add-on components, which would have driven the price even higher than where it was guestimated to be. The guestimated “final” price of Tri-W was about $205 a month. At this point in the county’s “guestimations,” of various alternatives, the starting price is about $200 a month, a number that can go down with competitive bidding and value engineering and such like. Right now, cheapest combination with the best case scenario (federal $, low cost financing, grants, etc) has a guestimated price of $120 a month to a high of worst case scenario of $250. Reality may lie somewhere inbetween OR, if competitive bidding breaks out as the project nears the “let’s get RFP & Seriously Sign Contract” phase, could go lower.
At this point, it’s too early to tell. But here’s the irony: The new options are still under old Tri-W project’s guestimated costs, while offering greater flexibility which could translate into future savings on O&M&R costs. (i.e. alternative energy technologies, increased ag reuse, newer options and technologies that could be utilized better at a more flexible out of town site that would have been prohibited by the in-town one, & etc.)
And, clearest of all, no matter how the TAC report is sliced, the Tri W project remained the most expensive, so when the recalled CSD Board kept telling this community that there were no suitable sites out of town, that putting a plant out there would be waaay more expensive, that Tri-W was the cheapest solution available, the best solution available, the only solution available . . . that simply wasn’t true.
Interestingly, as untruthful as the Tri-W project always was, a huge portion of the community was ready to accept those lies, and that $205 price tag and grudgingly and fatalistically end up with a sewer plant in the middle of their town.
Also interesting, as near as I can tell, the “messages” in the recall and in Measure B were these: The community wanted:
(1) a cheaper plan (keep in mind the word “cheaper,” with the emphasis on “er.”)
(2) with the plant located out of town
(3) and a 218 vote in the matter.
Near as I can see, the County’s delivered three for three.
Before sewer Jihadis on either side of this war crank up their VOTE NO ON WHATEVER, they might want to think about the above: Three for three.
For some in this community, that still won’t be good enough, but my bet is that the majority of property owners have been given what they asked for (cheaper, out of town, 218 vote), so I’m betting they’ll say, Hey, thanks, vote for the 218, then take the Community Preference Survey as to what type of system they prefer, (Um, waaaallll, personally, I like blue and do put those little purple thingees on it And if you can, you know those round orange whatachamacallits, let’s have some of those scattered around over here and there, if they’re not too expensive, that is.”)
The county will say, Thank you very much for your input, the BOS will try as much as they can to see that the community preferences are realized, then the project will go out to bid, digging will commence, and people will start paying dearly for the apalling train wreck that was unnecessarily visited on their town by a series of lies, unchecked egos, CYA weird Medean and Freudian and Shakespearian human failings, that resulted in a lack of due diligence and apathy and incompetence and failure on the part of a whole array of governmental agencies whose whole point of existence was to look out to make sure the tracks were clear and the train was indeed, NOT heading for a cliff.