Letter to the Editor: Retired Ronald Wastewater Manager Questions 2013 Ronald Budget

The Board should be looking at ways to reduce the $11.15 per month per customer equivalent

To the editor:

This proposed budget for the Ronald Wastewater District does not favor the ratepayers. The Board should be looking at ways to reduce the $11.15 per month per customer equivalent. The duties of the Commissioners and staff have not increased but the expenses have. There are no annexations of new areas; it is an established district which needs maintenance over site without frivolous spending.

Do you know that their 2013 budget includes $111,500 for monthly mailers? 

Do you know they already have a web site that could provide all of this information? 

Do you know they have the ability to write messages on the bills that they send out? 

Do you know they are having free community lunches the 3rd Friday of every month? 

Do you know they are spending $4,000 for a conference room upgrade and $2,000 for an administrative chair? 

Do you know that they have an approximate $6 million dollar repair and replacement fund? 

Do you know that they have net revenue from operating of $1,862,712? 

Do you know that after covering their CIP for 2013, they have net revenue of $698,168? 

Do you know that the District operated for 60 years with three Commissioners and only added two more when one of the Commissioners lost the election and he was appointed back? 

Do you know the salaries and benefits that these commissioners and their families earn? 

Do you know the salaries of their management team? 

Do you know that their travel expenses have increased as follows: 2011 $12,905; 2012 21,800; 2013 $36,000? 

Do you know with good management they could reduce the District charge which would help subsidize the added treatment costs which are 
increasing another $3.69 a month per customer equivalent to $39.79?

Learn how your sewer rates are being spent and be sure you have the facts. Learn the terms of the interlocal agreement referred to in this notice and the fact that it was signed by two of the current commissioners.

Respectfully submitted, 
Sis (Sydell) Polin 
Retired General Manager of Ronald Wastewater District

Cosmo November 27, 2012 at 10:52 PM
What an eyeopener.
Wendy DiPeso November 29, 2012 at 03:57 AM
Wish the City of Shoreline ran as efficiently as Ronald Wastewater. What is wrong with having a reserve fund for maintenance and repairs such that if there is a natural disaster that takes out pipes RWD won't have to raise rates to take care of the problem? It is this reserve fund that the City of Shoreline wants to get its hands on in 2017 since they can't seem to balance their budget without raising tax rates.
sydell polin November 29, 2012 at 06:17 AM
I notice you didn't focus on any of the details of the budget itself, i.e. spending over a 100,000 a year from rates for a monthly mailer & how about no payroll + benefits details. For example, from 2010 to 2011 to 2012 payroll increased approx. 20,000 a year but the budget from 2012 to the now adopted 2013 budget has an increase of 100,576. sp
Tony Dondero (Editor) November 29, 2012 at 07:24 PM
The $111,500, which includes an increase in frequency of Ronald's mailers from quarterly to monthly, also includes sending everyone a mailer who lives in a rental unit. That hasn't been done in the past, according to district manager Michael Derrick. The district has 16,500 accounts and each account gets a mailer but that means an apartment building, which is one account, only gets one. This changes that, "to reach more people," Derrick said. The mailers advise people to not dump fat and grease down the sink; and flush cloth wipes other non-toilet paper items as well which create clogs.
Tom Jamieson November 29, 2012 at 08:21 PM
Thank you for fact-checking, Tony.
sydell polin November 30, 2012 at 04:50 AM
It is true apartment dwellers do not get individual bills. I live in an apartment and I manage to keep up with what is going on in my community because I care and, as a Senior, I don't want to see my dwindling funds wasted. NOTICE THAT on the outside of the flyer the word CAUTION appears but it has nothing to do with grease in the drain. You have to really look carefully to even find that message I tell you again, read the budget. Another tidbit for you, you might want to check out the $100,000 for consulting PR. on the 2013 budget, in addition to their legal, financial and engineering. How many times are they going to warn you about grease in the drain? You and I know why they are spending our ratepayers money on these flyers and it isn't for me.
Wendy DiPeso November 30, 2012 at 04:56 AM
In response to Sis taking issue with my not focusing on the details of the budget - There is insufficient space allowed to respond to the many misrepresentations. The $2,000 "chair" is one great example. The funds are to replace many chairs some of which are literally going to pieces, having been purchased in the late '90's.
sydell polin December 01, 2012 at 02:46 AM
This is my last response to Wendy because it is obvious to me that she does not have a copy of the budget and I don't have the time to educate her about it. I have just asked folks to read it themselves and get the facts. I have not misrepresented anything. The budget refers to $4,000 for conference room furniture replacement and $2,000 for an administration Office Chair Replacement. Perhaps in talking to the staff they may tell you something different, I am telling you what is written in black and white in their documents. Sis
Tony Dondero (Editor) December 01, 2012 at 02:54 AM
The budget can be found here: http://www.ronaldwastewater.org/downloads/budget%202013.pdf The district also raised its monthly rates 6 cents to $11.21 a month from $11.15 at its Nov. 20 meeting.
sydell polin December 01, 2012 at 04:21 AM
The total new rate from Ronald per residential customer equivalent per month is: District $11.21* King County $39.79 Total $51.00 District 11.21* Edmonds $24.14 Total $35.35 *Low Income Sr. Discount KC Total $25.50 Low income Sr. Discount Ed. Total $17.67 sisp
Wendy DiPeso December 01, 2012 at 09:19 PM
So according to the rates listed above District collects $11.21, King county collects $39.79. So King County receives 78% of the total bill. King County collects 78% of our money but no one is complaining about King County? One would almost think there is a campaign to discredit our very efficient Public Utilities so the public won't complain when the City of Shoreline takes them over.
sydell polin December 02, 2012 at 05:17 AM
This doesn't deserve an answer. You have your own personal agenda. All your responses iindicate how little you know about the operation of the District and how they spend your money. Apparently, I am spoon feeding you the information. I am just trying to get the public to read the facts and there is a lot to read in that budget. By the way, I have been writing to Ferguson (as the District tells you to do) for years. But how is the District representing us regarding these charges. Their response is that it is just a pass through.
Sheila Long December 03, 2012 at 12:50 AM
Thank you Tony for the link to the budget. All parties in the rates should be held accountable, not just whomever charges the most. A newsletter once every three months should be sufficient unless there is something critical that needs to be disseminated. Critical does NOT include being critical of other entities: it should mean pertaining to construction, planned outages,internal governance changes, items of those ilk.


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