When I heard that the new North Beach Water Company was raising rates in conjunction with the acquisition of the Ocean Park and Pacific Water companies, I was troubled by the announced 61 percent increase for my basic rate and the 69 percent cost increase per cubic foot usage. I had heard about one meeting, but was unable to attend.
As I understood, the rate increase was, in part, to finance the purchase of the other two water companies. I questioned an employee of the Ocean Park Water Company about whether the rates would go down after the loans were paid off. The employee told me that the rates would then be used to make future improvements. I don't feel comfortable that that is a true statement. In two letters to the editor by the board of directors and a letter available to customers at the Ocean Park office, references were made that planned improvements would lead to a reduction in my homeowner's insurance. I called my insurance company and they said that is was improbable that any improvements would cause a significant reduction in my insurance rates.
In the letter to the editor on Aug. 30, we were told to not contact the county commissioners about this situation. Having read the Aug. 16 letter to the editor that this board was formed under the auspices of Pacific County with the board members being appointed by the county commissioners, I felt compelled to contact the county for their reactions. After talking to them, I got the impression that they were not comfortable with the direction that the North Beach Water Company board of directors was going. It also seems that a lot more customers were expressing similar feelings to the commissioners.
The letter to the editor on Aug. 30 is troubling to me because the board member simply throws out a lot of numbers that end up as a 61 percent increase in the basic rate and a 69 percent increase in the cubic foot usage. There is also a ridiculous comparison to Bill and Melinda Gates, which is like comparing apples and oranges. This comparison to the Gates was related to me when I talked directly to another board member. I am also hard-pressed to believe that there was a standing ovation at the end of the meeting where this substantial price increase was announced.
The bottom line for me is that I do not see any oversight on this board of directors regarding any future rate increases or what they do to improve my service. I don't understand the need to change from a public development authority to a water district except for the chance to remove the existing six members.