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Board Discusses Legislative Success and Future Challenges

AUBURN, Calif. – With the adjournment of the California Legislature on August 31, the Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) Board of Directors took time at its regularly scheduled meeting last week to review some successes and future challenges resulting from the 2017-18 legislative session.

Top of interest was Senate Bill (SB) 845, which failed to pass out of the Assembly. SB 845 would have levied a “voluntary remittance” on every customer’s water bill to help fund clean drinking water in California’s central valley. PCWA strongly opposed the bill.

“While I empathize with legacy issues related to drinking water quality in the central valley, turning PCWA into a taxing agency for the state, and sending our customer’s money to Sacramento, is not an appropriate solution,” General Manager Einar Maisch said. “Under this bill, customers would have had to ‘opt out’ of paying the additional remittance; that hardly qualifies as voluntary.”

On the energy side, Directors discussed the passage of SB 100, which establishes a statewide target of 100 percent carbon-free energy by the end of year 2045. In the final week of the legislative session, PCWA opposed the bill over concerns it will further destabilize California’s energy grid and increase costs for all of California energy ratepayers.

“California, today, already generates more solar energy than the grid can handle, yet the state continues to push for more renewable generation,” Maisch said. “We’ve spent billions of dollars on solar panels, which will require spending trillions of dollars on batteries.”

Governor Brown signed SB 100 into law on September 10, and has until September 30 to sign or veto all other bills that passed out of the legislature.

In other news

PCWA’s Finance Committee met to review the proposed 2019 budgets for the Agency-Wide and the Water Divisions. Water rates are tied to the Consumer Price Index and could rise up to 3.5 percent next year; however, to implement the full increase, the Board of Directors must determine that the Agency’s costs have risen at least that much over the past year. The Finance Committee is carefully analyzing whether the full increase is necessary, paying particular attention to increases in operational expenses in 2018 and proposals for next year. The Finance Committee will meet later this month to continue its review of those budgets, which will be followed by a Board workshop in October.

Upcoming Meeting

The next regular meeting of the PCWA Board of Directors will be held on Thursday, September 20, 8:15 AM at the PCWA Business Center, 144 Ferguson Road, in Auburn. PCWA board meetings are open to the public.

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