Tom Scaglione was assistant general manager and CFO at San Marcos’ Vallecitos Water District. He retired in May and now teaches at Palomar College in their water/wastewater technology program. He’s become a critic on a huge rip off to district ratepayers. Tom Scaglione: “San Marcos is run by develop.
Tom Scaglione was assistant general manager and CFO at San Marcos’ Vallecitos Water District. He retired in May and now teaches at Palomar College in their water/wastewater technology program. He’s become a critic on a huge rip off to district ratepayers.
In 2012, the board of directors of the district tried to increase the sewer impact fees charged to developers wanting to build in the district, which covers San Marcos, plus small parts of Carlsbad, Vista, and unincorporated areas including Lake San Marcos.
“The developers didn’t want to pay it,” said Scaglione. “They took over the board in the 2012 election, ousting longtime members. It’s now a four-to-one majority for the developers. At their very first meeting, they started making accommodations to developers.”
“In 2012, Vallecitos had a $3 million deficit in the developer infrastructure fund,” said Scaglione.
On October 24, as part of the local multi-college campus symposium, Political Economy Days, he presented his scathing report at Palomar College on the State of Water Rates for ratepayers in the Vallecitos District. He reported that since 2012, customer’s rates went up 5.7 percent annually. The developer fund went up only 2.9 percent.
$84.4 million in ratepayer’s funds will be accelerated to $96 million over the next five years. The developer fund will have a deficit of $44 million. Scaglione points out the district is using ratepayer funds to pay for new infrastructure caused by new development. The 21,000 district customers will pay an additional $552.38 each.
Scaglione says Vallecitos directors Mike Sannella and Hal Martin are in the developer’s pockets. “The development industry is spending $50,000 to get Sannella elected to the city council in the upcoming Nov 6 election.
The only ratepayer-focused person left on the board is Betty Evans,” said Scaglione.
In a telephone interview October 27, I asked what could ratepayers do to change the direction of ratepayer vs. developers? “San Marcos is run by developers,” he responded, pointing out that the Vallecitos Water District has the largest undeveloped boundary in the county.
While Scaglione’s report had several ideas for changing course in the district, he acknowledged there is no political will in the city to do that. “The developers come in here with a bunch of money and create a deception, and the ratepayers don’t stand a chance.”
Vallecitos Water District receives Re-accreditation as a “District of Distinction”
San Marcos, CA – On April 4, 2018, the Vallecitos Water District (Vallecitos) was honored for achieving re-accreditation as a “District of Distinction” by the Special District Leadership Foundation (SDLF). This accreditation is designed as a way for districts to highlight their prudent fiscal practices along with other areas important to effectively operate and govern a special district. California SDLF Public Affairs Field Coordinator, Chris Palmer, was on hand to recognize Vallecitos for completing the essential governance requirements. This is the second time Vallecitos has received this biannual accreditation.
“SDLF provides an independent audit review of the last three years of the District’s operations to ensure prudent fiscal practices,” said Neil McCormick, SDLF Chief Executive Officer. The committee members who review the audits are volunteers from the special district community, including district controllers, directors of finance and general managers. SDLF is an independent, non-profit organization formed to promote good governance and best practices among California’s special districts through certification, accreditation and other recognition programs.
To receive the recognition, Vallecitos’ website must include posting of transparency requirements, including: election procedures and deadlines, posted board meeting schedules and agendas, current District budget, most recent financial audit, and a list of compensation of Board members and staff or a link to the State Controller’s webpage with the data. Vallecitos’ Board of Directors and executive staff must also show proof of educational training in public governance, as well as compliance with ethics and harassment prevention training.
“This award is proof of the District’s commitment to good government,” said Vallecitos Board President Jim Hernandez. “The Board of Directors, along with District staff, are to be commended for their efforts to highlight our prudent fiscal practices and sound policies in the areas of governance, board conduct and transparency.”
Movie in the Park – Part III –Upper Softball Field
The San Elijo Hills Community Association is hosting a FREE showing of Disney’s Moana (rated PG) as the final movie of the summer series!
An adventurous teenager sails out on a daring mission to save her people. During her journey, Moana meets the once-mighty demigod Maui, who guides her in her quest to become a master way-finder. Together they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds. Along the way, Moana fulfills the ancient quest of her ancestors and discovers the one thing she always sought: her own identity.
Moana will be shown on Friday August 25th at the upper softball field of San Elijo Hills Park. Pre-show activities (including bounce houses, a sticky wall and more!) will begin at 6:00PM and the movie will start after sunset (around 8:15).
The San Elijo Hills Foundation has provided some delicious food trucks with a variety of food and refreshments for purchase including Razzy Rucas Taco Catering, Red Oven Pizza, Kona Ice, and The Rush Coffee!
Save the date: The San Elijo Women’s Club Hoedown in the Hills
The San Elijo Hills Women’s Club’s fall fundraiser, Hoedown in the Hills, is coming up!
Hoedown in the Hills benefits Straight from the Heart, a local support and outreach organization serving 5,000 North County foster children and their families. The fundraiser will be held on September 16, 2017 at the Williams Barn, located in San Marcos’ Walnut Grove Park beginning at 6:00 p.m.
For just $45 per person, attendees will enjoy mouth-watering chicken, pork and tri-tip BBQ, sides and dessert, beer and wine, lively music, line dancing, and silent and live auctions offering guests the opportunity to bid on amazing items, gift baskets and personal services. Tickets will be available online beginning July 1 at sehwc.weebly.com.
Save the date: Community Yard Sale
The San Elijo Hills Community Association is hosting a community-wide yard sale. All residents are welcome to participate in this FREE event! The yard sale will be held on Saturday, 9/23/17 from 7AM-11AM. Directional signage will be placed out the morning of the sale to the individual neighborhoods. Please note, there will be NO MAPS distributed indicating which individuals homes are participating. Please feel free to add additional signage in the community after 8PM the night before (Friday 9/22/17) so long as it is removed promptly after the event.
Save the date: Back to School Block Party & Laser Show in the Town Square
Let’s dance the night away! Welcome new neighbors and catch up with your favorite friends! Join us September 8, 2017 in the town square park.
Getting the party started will be a live DJ, dancers, dance floor, music, lights and laser show! We will have interactive games (for all ages!), contests, prizes, and more surprises! Only one way to find out…come join us!
Food and beverages are also just steps away! Enjoy one of the local eateries or grab a bite from one of the delicious food trucks.
The party begins on 9/8/17 at 6:00 p.m. and goes until approximately 9:30 p.m. For more information, feel free to contact Liz McCardle at email@example.com or call (760) 798-9015.
Trails Cleanup Day
The California Coastal Cleanup Day (CCD) has been set for 2017! The San Elijo Hills trails system is a designated California Coastal Cleanup Day (CCD) area, and we need volunteers!
The trail system within San Elijo Hills is such a beloved feature of our community! Please join us on Saturday, September 16th from 9:00AM-12:00PM to help clean up the trails!
Volunteers will meet in the Town Square (by the fountain) of San Elijo Hills at 9:00AM. Walk-ups are welcome but pre-registration helps us with site logistics, so if you know for sure you want to help, please register online at www.cleanupday.org.
All volunteers should wear comfortable closed toed shoes and sun protection. You can help reduce waste by bringing your own reusable water bottle, and gardening or work gloves. Note: every participant in CCD needs to sign a waiver; anyone under the age of 18 needs a parent or guardian signature to participate! Students are eligible for community service hours, and prizes will be given out for the most trash collected! Together we can all make a difference!
San Elijo Hills Association Board of Directors Meeting
The next General Session Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 6:00 pm at the San Elijo Hills onsite office (1277 San Elijo Rd. S, San Marcos, CA 92078).
Board of Directors:
Your Board of Directors is hard at work with many on-going projects.
If you have recently driven through our entrance, you may have noticed that a significant amount of plants have been added around the entry water feature creating a more colorful and diverse palette. In conjunction with this upgrade, the Board has also been focusing on the monument area and signage. The Board is actively pursuing proposals to modify the signage and incorporate additional water elements into the design.
Along with the upgrades, the Board of Directors have been diligently working to fix the entry water feature which has been non-operational due to pump failure. The pump replacement has been approved and is in process. We are excited to see what is in store for this area as the Board finalizes their plans!
As you may have seen in the media, there was a drinking fountain that was recently removed from San Marcos Middle School after it was discovered to have a higher level of lead than is considered safe.
It is critical to San Marcos Unified to ensure that the water used by our students, staff, and community is safe. In addition to having the water tested at all of our school locations, we also wanted to provide information to our community regarding the steps leading up to this action.
What resulted in San Marcos Unified School District conducting tests at three District schools?
Following the event in Flint (Michigan), The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) amended the permit for all public water system in California in order to mandate free lead testing in schools, if requested by the school district.
While not required, Vallecitos Water District notified the District of this new mandate from the SWRCB. The mandate became effective in January 2017.
Why did the District choose to test Alvin Dunn Elementary, Richland Elementary, and San Marcos Middle School?
In 1986, the use of lead solder was banned from use in joining copper pipes. These three schools were originally constructed prior to 1986. All other schools in the District were constructed or renovated after 1986.
What are the measurement standards?
The current standards followed by the Vallecitos Water District were developed and implemented by the United States EPA in 1991. The standards state that the Action Level (AL) for lead is 15 ug/L. This is defined to mean “micrograms per liter” or “parts per billion”.
The Department of Drinking Water regulations state that any results at 15 ug/L or less are considered safe.
What were the results of the tests conducted?
At Alvin Dunn Elementary, five samples were collected. All results were below the 15 ug/L Action Level.
At Richland Elementary, five samples were collected. All results were below the 15 ug/L Action Level.
At San Marcos Middle School, five samples were collected. Four results were below the 15 ug/L Action while one sample was above.
What does this mean and what did the District do?
It is important to note that the water received from Vallecitos Water District meets current standards and regulations.
In this instance, the sample from a fixture (drinking fountain) at San Marcos Middle School had a higher level greater than 15 ug/L. When the District was notified of the results, the fixture was removed from service.
The District is also making arrangements to have additional tests conducted at other locations at San Marcos Middle School.
Have there been any illnesses reported due to this drinking fountain?
No. There have not been any reports of illness that are due to or can be traced back to this drinking fountain.
What can I do if I’m worried about my child having lead poisoning?
You can contact the California Department of Public Health – Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at 619-692-8487. The best recommendation we can offer is to take your child to their general physician for blood tests.
Vallecitos Board of Directors Declares Drought Over
Last night, the Vallecitos Water District’s Board of Directors voted to rescind the voluntary drought restrictions under its “Level 1 – Drought Watch.” Vallecitos customers may irrigate any day of the week with no limit on the number of watering days, and may irrigate their landscapes for as many minutes as needed. However, the Board continued to express their desire to sustain water conservation as a permanent way of life. Vallecitos’ ordinance permanently prohibits wasteful practices, such as:
Watering between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Watering within 48 hours of a measurable rain event
Hosing down hardscapes (patios, sidewalks, etc.)
Not using a shut-off nozzle when washing cars
Not fixing leaks within 48 hours of discovery
Restaurants only serving water on request
Vallecitos’ resolution was taken in response to the San Diego County Water Authority’s action on January 26, 2017, declaring the drought over in San Diego County. Neither the Water Authority nor Vallecitos are experiencing supply shortages due to drought. The San Diego region has invested approximately $3.5
billion over the past three decades to increase regional water supply reliability, including upgraded conveyance systems, additional water storage capacity and seawater desalination. Vallecitos has a direct connection to the desalination plant in Carlsbad and obtains more than a quarter of its annual supplies from this drought proof source.
Vallecitos met its mandatory savings target after the state imposed emergency regulations in 2015 to achieve the governor’s goal of an overall 25 percent cut in urban water use. In May 2016, the state updated its emergency regulation to a water supply “stress test” methodology that took actual levels of local supply reliability into account. Under that system, Vallecitos has sufficient supplies to avoid shortages even if it experiences three more dry years.
“Due to the record-setting winter precipitation in the Northern Sierra, coupled with heavy local rainfall and a significant snowpack in the upper Colorado River basin, we are able to rescind Drought Response Level 1 – Drought Watch,” said Vallecitos Board President, Craig Elitharp. “We applaud our customers’ efforts to conserve water and encourage them to continue to use water efficiently at all times.”
For more detailed information on the permanent prohibitions, go to www.vwd.org/drought.
About Vallecitos Water District: As an independent, special district, Vallecitos is dedicated to providing water, wastewater and reclamation services to approximately 97,000 people in a 45- square-mile area that includes San Marcos; the community of Lake San Marcos; portions of Carlsbad, Escondido and Vista; and other surrounding unincorporated areas. The public is invited to Board meetings, taking place at 5 p.m. the first and third Wednesday of each month at Vallecitos’ Administration Building – 201 Vallecitos de Oro, San Marcos. Board meetings are also televised on San Marcos TV. Visit www.san-marcos.net/smtv for a complete programming schedule.
Governor Appoints CSUSM Adjunct Lecturer
from Water Management Program to Bay Area Council
Jerry Brown has appointed Ken Weinberg, who teaches in the Certificate in Water Resources
Management and Leadership Program at CSUSM, to the Delta Stewardship Council.
While this year’s El Nino rains may have temporarily assuaged some drought concerns, water resource management remains a vital part of California’s future. With a disproportionate number of water industry professionals anticipating retirement, a new generation needs to emerge to take a leadership role in this important industry.
Ken Weinberg, who has an extensive background in water management in both the private and public sectors, played an active role in developing the Certificate in Water Management and Leadership program at California State University San Marcos. This professional certificate program is designed to address the growing demand for qualified experts. Now Weinberg’s expertise has been recognized by California Governor Jerry Brown, who recently appointed Weinberg to the Delta Stewardship Council. This group will address water supply and environmental issues in the area around the Bay Delta.
At CSU San Marcos, Weinberg leads the survey course that introduces students to the Water Management and Leadership certificate program. The certificate program seeks to educate and broaden the skills of people currently working in the area of water resources; however, anyone with an interest in learning more about the water issues affecting our state and the world can register for the entry course.
“Leaders in the water industry approached CSUSM and asked us to help develop a program to educate the next generation of water industry experts,” explains Alan Styles, Program Director for the Water Management and Leadership Program at CSUSM. “The complex nature of water, especially in arid Southern California, requires competent and informed leaders who can manage water resources fairly and efficiently. Created by and for water industry professionals like Ken Weinberg, this program offers students the opportunity to gain knowledge and qualifications that meet the needs of the water management industry.”
The Certificate in Water Management and Leadership is designed for individuals who are currently employed in the areas of water supply, treatment, or distribution; those who meet certain basic prerequisites and have an interest in integrated water resource management may also apply. For those who do not live or work in San Diego County, some accommodation is available for remote learning. Recognized industry authorities lead the classes, which are primarily held on weekday evenings to accommodate working professionals. Guest speakers and expert panels as well as weekend field trips to tour facilities are also incorporated into the curriculum. The certificate is awarded upon completion of the five classes, each of which range from 8-15 weeks in duration.
Enrollment is now open for the introduction class beginning March 18 in the Certificate in Water Management and Leadership Program, including the introductory course taught by Ken Weinberg. To learn more about this program or to enroll, call 760-750-4004, or visit www.csusm.edu/el/water.
About CSUSM Extended Learning
As the academic outreach arm of Cal State San Marcos, Extended Learning is a leading provider of professional and continuing education in North San Diego and Southwest Riverside Counties. Offering degree programs, such as a Specialized MBA degree, as well as both academic credit and noncredit professional development courses, Extended Learning helps individuals and organizations achieve their educational and training goals. For more information about Extended Learning at CSUSM please visit http://www.csusm.edu/el/.
Per the HOA this person was stealing water from the hydrants in San Elijo Hills. Residents should call the Sheriff if they see any unmarked vehicle like this taking water. This incident was reported to HOA and authorities.
San Marcos, CA – The Vallecitos Water District (VWD) is pleased to announce that after a nationwide search with over 50 applicants, the VWD Board of Directors has appointed Glenn Pruim as its new General Manager. Mr. Pruim replaces Dennis O. Lamb, who retired last June.
Glenn Pruim received both his Bachelors and Masters of Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois. A registered engineer in Civil and Mechanical Engineering, Glenn Pruim has an extensive background in public works, engineering, and water and wastewater operations. During his ten years at the City of Carlsbad, he served as City Engineer, Public Works Director and General Manager/Utilities Director of the City’s subsidiary, Carlsbad Municipal Water District. Further, he functioned as lead negotiator with Poseidon Resources and the San Diego County Water Authority for the Carlsbad Desalination Project. More recently, Mr. Pruim worked for the City of Encinitas and San Dieguito Water District as Public Works Director/General Manager, where he concurrently held titles of: City Engineer, Public Works Director, San Dieguito Water District General Manager, Encinitas Sanitary District General Manager and Cardiff Sanitation District General Manager.
“We are excited to have Glenn join us,” said Vallecitos Board President, Mike Sannella. “After a nationwide search we selected the ideal candidate: a General Manager with skills in drinking water, desalinated water, recycled water and wastewater collection—and also one who knows and understands California’s water woes as well as the local North County community.”
“I’m very excited about the opportunity to join Vallecitos as the General Manager. In my previous positions with Carlsbad and Encinitas, I have worked side by side with Vallecitos on water and wastewater issues and have always been impressed by their leadership and professionalism. I’ve also been a Vallecitos’ customer for the past 14 years and have received excellent service.”
Glenn Pruim and his wife Jeanne live in San Marcos. They are parents to five sons. Mr. Pruim officially started his new duties on November 21, 2016
Last night, the Vallecitos Water District’s Board of Directors voted to rescind the mandatory drought restrictions under its “Level 2 Drought Alert” and move to voluntary conservation measures under its “Level 1 Drought Watch,” thereby ending restrictions on outdoor watering. Vallecitos customers may now irrigate any day of the week with no limit on the number of watering days, and may irrigate their landscapes as long as necessary. However, the Board expressed their desire to sustain water conservation as a permanent way of life and adopted a new ordinance permanently prohibiting wasteful practices, such as:
Visible signs of runoff when watering landscapes
Watering between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Watering within 48 hours of a measurable rain event
Hosing down hardscapes (patios, sidewalks, etc.)
Not using a shut-off nozzle when washing cars
Not fixing leaks within 48 hours of discovery
The District’s action was taken in response to the State Water Resources Control Board recently terminating water use reduction mandates and allowing water agencies to set their own water use targets based upon their specific supply conditions. Recognizing persistent yet less severe drought conditions throughout California, the newly adopted emergency regulation, which is in effect through January 2017, mandates that urban water suppliers act to ensure at least a three year supply of water to their customers under drought conditions.
A thorough analysis determined that Vallecitos has sufficient water supplies for its customers, even if drought conditions continue for the next three years; therefore, the District won’t be subject to state-mandated water-use reductions through January 2017. This is due largely to its customers who saved 25 percent since June 2015 and the fact that Vallecitos now receives a portion of its water directly from the Carlsbad Desalination Plant, which is a local, drought-resilient supply.
“Due to the exceptional conservation efforts by our customers and the foresight of the District to secure desalinated seawater, we are now able to give our customers greater flexibility when it comes to keeping trees, plants and vegetation alive,” said Vallecitos Board President, Mike Sannella. “We applaud our customers’ efforts and encourage them to continue to use water efficiently at all times.”