The following is a press release from an organization unaffiliated with Voice of OC. The views expressed here are not those of Voice of OC.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 9, 2016
Contact: Lisa Ohlund
SEWER AREA 7 VOTERS IN NORTH TUSTIN FAVOR EOCWD OVER IRWD BY A 15-TO-1 MARGIN
ORANGE, CALIF. – East Orange County Water District (EOCWD) conducted a public opinion research survey and found that the residents who live in Sewer Area 7, which encompasses North Tustin, overwhelmingly want their local service provider – EOCWD – to take over the sewer service in their neighborhoods instead of Irvine Ranch Water District (IRWD). When provided information about both agencies, 77% of the respondents said they’d prefer EOCWD to provide their local sewer service and maintenance while 5% said they’d prefer IRWD.
Both EOCWD and IRWD have agreed to cut the local sewer fee in half from $216 per year to just $108 per year. However, EOCWD is the only applicant that has agreed to continue cleaning and inspecting the sewers on an annual basis. IRWD proposes to inspect and clean the sewers every other year. The Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) currently inspects and cleans the sewers annually.
“We are a fiscally-conservative community,” said Rick Nelson, President of the Foothill Communities Association. “While both agencies agreed to provide a 50% cut in the local sewer fee, only EOCWD has offered to continue to provide the same level of service of annual cleanings that the Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) has provided for years. That is one of the reasons the Foothill Communities Association supports the EOCWD application.”
EOCWD is able to provide the same service at the lower rate because it has lower overhead and no unfunded pension liabilities for its employees. The survey found that 62% of the respondents in Sewer Area 7 thought it was “extremely important” that the sewers continue to be cleaned annually and another 23% said it was “somewhat important.”
EOCWD has the support of the local cities and community associations in Sewer Area 7 including the Cities of Orange and Tustin as well as the Foothill Communities Association. 85% of those respondents who live in Sewer Area 7 found that “extremely” or “somewhat” important.
Finally, EOCWD has elected board members who live in the East Orange and North Tustin communities. IRWD’s board members live in Irvine and Newport Coast. When asked if having elected board members live in their community was important, 69% indicated it was “extremely” or “somewhat” important.
“EOCWD has been working on a transition plan with OCSD for more than two years,” said Tita Smith, Mayor of Orange. “EOCWD is in these streets every day providing retail and wholesale water service and understands this community. Because they are local, EOCWD would have a faster response time should a spill occur. But because they would be maintaining OCSD’s high standard of annual cleanings, fewer spills are likely to occur.”
Sewer Area 7 Voters Favor EOCWD over IRWD by a 15-1 margin March 7, 2016
The Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission (OC LAFCO) will deliberate and decide whether to approve the EOCWD or IRWD application. That decision could occur as early as the April 13, 2016 LAFCO hearing.
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