NEWS for January 26, 2017 Recent Wrightwood Community Service District formation public meeting By Vicky Rinek
Register Voters (in the area of Wrightwood) will go to the Polls March 7, 2017 to establish or decline the establishment of a Community Service District and electing five (5) Board Members to govern three functions of operation. LAFCO approved the application last year and the feasibility community held numerous public information meetings. At a recent public meeting about the Wrightwood Community Service District (WCSD) on January 7, 2017 Kathleen Rolling-McDonald, LAFCO representative, once again gave a detail presentation on the What, When and How of the WCSD. Kathleen explained the scope of responsibilities that would fall under the WCSD which would include the real estate encompassing the three parks (Vivian Null Park, Hollis M. Stewart Children’s Park and Veterans Memorial Park), public buildings that include the Community Building, the Old Fire House (Museum) and the restroom building, as well as the parking lot in front of the community building and the 23 streetlights. The franchise contract, for solid waste collection, with CR&R is included in the budget. The 5-year budget for the WCSD was designed utilizing the history of expenses SBCo occurred. Other expenses include all utilities, maintenance of buildings, insurance, supplies and payroll of the general manager (part-time), accountant, attorney fees and the grounds maintenance personnel. The budget also has a debt ($132,000) for the Skate Park that is to be paid to the SBCo over 3 years. The funds to cover the expenses relating to the above will come from a portion of the property taxes already collected by the San Bernardino County Treasurer. Property taxes provide a firm financial foundation for special districts to build the infrastructure necessary to maintain a strong economy and healthy environment. The eight (8) residents of Wrightwood on the ballot for WCSD Board include, Charles “Chuck” Franklin, Leo W. Hordyk, Michelle Schneider, Monica Ciccarelli, Andrew Ciccarelli, Stephanie Carroll, Natalie Lopiccolo, Wes Zuber. The community is invited to a Meet the Candidates forum on February 2, 2017 at the Wrightwood Community Building, 1275 Hwy 2, at 6:30 p.m. Each candidate will be given up to five minutes to introduce themselves to the community, providing background (personal, professional), and give audience members the reasons why they want to serve on the Wrightwood CSD Board. After the presentation a Questions and Answer secession was addressed.
Functions of a CSD Q & A Q: Why do we need a WCSD? A: The WCSD heighten the level of services desired by their constituencies and deliver unmet service needs. Special districts can serve large regions or small neighborhoods based on need, not political boundaries—no other type of government can cross city and county lines. This offers flexibility to address the unique needs of our diverse state’s communities. Q: Can the WCSD add additional functions to their responsibilities, such as local roads? And can they do that without a vote? A: LAFCO has a list of 19 other functions that could fall under control of a CSD. However there are requirements that must be met before additional functions can be added, such as financial ability. Also the WCSD’s first 6-months is restricted to the three functions. The Board does not need a vote from the residents to add a new function. Q. How is the general manager selected? A. The elected board members will hire a professional manager, similar to a city manager to assist the governing officials. The governing boards adopt policies that the general managers carry out. Q. What other services will the WCSD provide and how will it fund the activities? A. The WCSD will provide services like community events, sponsored activities and rental of the community buildings. Although WCSD’s parks and community building may charge fees for some services, these fees generate very little revenue. Q: How can we make sure WCSD is transparent? A: The WCSD is primarily accountable to the voters who elect their boards of directors and the customers who use their services. Special districts must submit annual financial reports to the State Controller and must also follow state laws pertaining to public meetings, record keeping and elections. WCSD will maintain a web site available to anyone. Q. What and who controls the other services Wrightwood needs? The cost of maintaining the roads, provide fire protection, law enforcement services and clean water services will not be under the WCSD responsibility. These services will remain under the San Bernardino County, state and private entities. Q: Can the WCSD raise taxes? A: Special districts cannot raise taxes, without the consent of the voters (with 2/3 voter approval). Property Taxes can only increase when a new owner takes position and the value is based on the sale price, increased after major improvements and additions or increased allowed by proposition 13.
Voting Q & A Q: Do you have to own property in Wrightwood to vote? A: If you are a registered voter with a Wrightwood address you will receive a ballot whether you own the property you reside in or rent. Q: If I own property in Wrightwood but registered at another address do I get a voter? A: If a property owner were registered outside of Wrightwood they would not receive a ballot. They must be registered in Wrightwood. Q: If two or more persons are registered at the same address who gets to vote? A: Each person that is registered with a Wrightwood address will receive a ballot, even if multiple individuals live at the same address. Q: If I own two parcels how many votes do I get? A: Only one ballot per individual even if a resident owns two or more parcels. Q: If Wrightwood is my primary residence but I’m not registered how long do I have to register and receive a ballot? A: The deadline to register to vote for this election is February 21, 2017. You can register online at: https://covr.sos.ca.gov/ Q: What if I’m registered to vote in Wrightwood but lost my ballot? A: If it is Election Day, you can go to your assigned polling place and vote a provisional ballot OR go to the Registrar of Voters Office and inform the staff person that you lost your ballot; staff will issue you a second Vote by Mail ballot. Q: I think I am registered to vote—how can I find out? A: You have a couple of options to find out if you are registered: Use the Registered Voter Lookup on the Registrar of Voters website. Call the Registrar of Voters Office. Q: When will I receive my ballot? A: Sample Ballot and Voter Information Pamphlets are mailed out approximately 3 weeks before an election; a second mailing goes out around 15 days before an election for voters who registered after the first mailing. Q: Where can I vote? A. 1. Vote by Mail: Apply ONLINE to receive a Mail Ballot by visiting SBCountyElections.com or by completing the application on the back of this guide. A. 2. Vote Early at: San Bernardino County Elections Office, 777 E. Rialto Avenue, San Bernardino between February 6 through March 6, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. A. 3. Vote on Election Day at: United Methodist Church, 1543 Barbara Street, Wrightwood, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. or San Bernardino County Elections Office, 777 E. Rialto Avenue, San Bernardino, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Q: Can I vote for a candidate whose name is not on the ballot? A: To vote for a candidate whose name is not on the ballot, the voter may print the name of the candidate on the blank write-in line and connect the arrow pointing to that candidate? Q: How many votes does it take to accept the creation of WCSD? A: The total count of votes must be 50% plus 1 to win. Example; 500 people go to the poll to cast their vote and 251mark yes and 249 marked no then the WCSD ballot is passed. Ultimately, the power to reorganize local services should always rest with the local citizens who established them and depend on them.
PPHCSD takes the next step toward Chromium 6 project
By Terri Hill
Phelan Pinon Hills Community Services District (PPHCSD) Board of Directors voted unanimously at the January 18 meeting to enter into a Professional Services Agreement (PSA) with IEC for the Chromium 6 Mitigation Project. The Engineering Committee and staff analyzed proposals from five companies. After ranking projects and the projected costs of each proposal, the committee recommended IEC for the project, at a cost not to exceed $688,900. IEC was represented at the meeting by the company’s President, Rob Webber, Project Manager Charlie McKinley, and Assistant Project Manager Delgado. The team explained the design portion of the project will be ready in September this year, construction bids will be accepted in December, and work will begin in March 2018. Mr. Webber expressed his high level of confidence in achieving the goal of bringing the Chromium 6 levels to the State mandated less than 10 parts per billion (ppb) for the District’s entire water supply. Director Brandon asked what would be the biggest risk to accomplishing the goal; Webber answered that the wells used to blend down to the other wells must still be at 0 ppb when they begin the project. A public hearing and discussion on Ordinance No. 2017-01; Enabling Water Rates, Fees, Charges, and establishing the Rules and Regulations for Water Service within the District Superseding County of San Bernardino Resolution No. 90-490 Entitled, “County Service Area 70 Improvement Zone L Rules and Regulations for Water Service,” was closed with no comments, written or otherwise presented. After a brief discussion concerning penalties, it was decided by the Board to bring back the Ordinance, with language changes and additions, for a final vote at the next meeting. The ordinance will establish a set of District rules for water service, in place of the previously adopted County rules. San Bernardino County Sheriff Sergeant Toll reported statistics for each of five local communities’ calls for service and reports taken. He then discussed the mail theft problem in the area calling it, “A huge issue!” Toll, and Director Pace, expressed the importance of reporting incidents of mail theft to the Sheriff rather than just the Post Office, as there is little they can do. The Sheriff’s office is following up on all reports and leads.
Meet Your Candidates for the WCSD election
Charles "Chuck" Franklin
Submitted by Tom Pinard
The Wrightwood Community residents are invited and urged to attend a Candidates forum to be held on February 2, at 6:30 p.m. at the Wrightwood Community Building. Eight(8) candidates will each be given up to five minutes to introduce themselves to the community, providing background (personal, professional), and give audience members the reasons why they want to serve on the Wrightwood CSD Board. All those in attendance will have to opportunity to fill out question cards so that candidates are presented with questions concerning their thought process on the CSD. The question forms can be to a specific candidate or to all candidates (the reason for the question cards is so that we don’t have audience members making this a forum for them, it is an event for the candidates). The candidates will have two minutes to answer the questions. One or more candidates can respond to a question asked of a specific candidate, also having a two-minute limit. The moderator will make introductory remarks, re-iterating to the audience that if they want to have a question answered they need to fill out a card (this will be obvious to all walking into the room as we will have a sign stating this with cards and pens available at a table). He will briefly explain the CSD proposal then introduce the candidates (prior to the start of the meeting the candidates will draw numbers to see what order they make their presentations). The Forum should not last over two hours but if there is a huge interest, it could go longer. All questions should be answered to the satisfaction of the audience and those reporting the meeting.
Series of storms brings snow and rain to High Desert
By Terri Hill
A series of winter storms followed in succession through California Wednesday evening through Monday night. Two colder storms brought snow, and after a brief respite on Saturday, snow and rain besieged the Tri-Community, and the rest of the Southland, for 48 hours. Homes in Phelan and Pinon Hills became waterfront properties as the roads swelled with rain and became veritable rivers. On Sunday, Phelan Road was flooded intermittently from Interstate 15 (I-15) to SR-138. Wrightwood residents had anywhere from one to three feet of snow by the time the five-day deluge came to an end. Also on Sunday, L.A. County Sheriff announced an avalanche advisory. Possible avalanche conditions were reportedly worse than those in 2008, when three skiers lost their lives in an avalanche in Mountain High’s backcountry. Schools in the Snowline District were closed due to inclement weather on Friday, and activities scheduled for Saturday were cancelled. Sunday’s storm lasted through Monday and school was again closed that day and, as water, ice, and snow made residential streets and Highways 2 and 138 impassible. On Tuesday, black ice made travel throughout the area too dangerous, and schools took another snow day for safety. Approximately 70 Pinon Hills residents were without power for nearly 24 hours. On Monday, chain control sites were staffed by Caltrans employees, who were without the assistance of the California Highway Patrol (CHP). Multiple requests for CHP monitors were met with the response that only three units were on duty from the Victorville Station, and no one was available for enforcement at the three sites. Residents who managed to leave the High Desert Monday were met with treacherous travel, as snow fell on I-15 from Oak Hills south beyond the SR-138 exit. CHP units stood by, ready to escort traffic, or close the freeway if necessary. One couple on Sunday learned the “Turn Around, Don’t Drown” slogan the hard way. They tried to navigate Swarthout Road, near Old Cajon Boulevard in their Ford F150 during the height of the storm and flash flood warnings. Bypassing a “Road Closed” sign, the couple tried to cross rushing water, not realizing how deep the water was, and how swiftly the current was moving. A passerby called 911 and San Bernardino County Fire Swift Water Rescue units responded. A raft was deployed and the occupants of the truck were pulled in, one at a time. By the time they were rescued, they had been stuck in the raging water for nearly two hours. While the snow pack at upper elevations is encouraging, California's Department of Water Resources cites four factors needed to truly end the drought. Four more months of good storms through must materialize. While the rain thus far has certainly helped the water supply in some aquifers, above average snowpack is necessary to replenished reservoirs and the state’s water supply. These storms must occur over the mountains, rather than at the coast where the water runs out to the ocean. Temperatures below freezing in the mountains are critical. When warmer storms dominate the season, water is carried to the ocean as runoff. Finally, actual recovery will take time. The state’s groundwater aquifers are critically depleted, and it may take more than one good year of snowpack to truly end the drought in Southern California.
Serving Wrightwood, Phelan, Pinon HIlls and West Cajon Valley Since 1961