Letter to the editor: Proposed SPU Purchase

Sunday, September 30, 2012

To the editor:

I am one of those 23 people who participated in the SPU Steering Committee meetings. I listened and joined in on hours of education, discussion and research about the negotiations for purchase of the SPU, the capabilities and deficiencies of our Shoreline water system, the rates we pay, the cost of acquisition, improvement costs, and on-going maintenance and operational costs. We discussed various scenarios including interest rates for bonds, inflation, deflation, droughts, earthquakes, floods, wholesale water rates and the effect of these events on rates that Shoreline residents will pay. Contingency costs were built into the base models and we requested additional contingencies to be added. We read volumes of research from engineers and financial analysts and 21 of us concluded that this is good deal for Shoreline.

I am a businessman. Numbers talk to me. These tables were produced by the Shoreline financial analysts on our home and commercial water rates.

It is pretty easy to see that we can’t keep paying twice as much for our water at home as our neighbors in Edmonds. Our city has come up with a plan. We’ve done our due diligence. Seattle agrees. Let’s just get it done!

For additional information go to: http://www.localcontrolforshoreline.org/

Bill Montero


Anonymous,  October 1, 2012 at 7:26 AM  

I wonder how carefully Mr. Montero read these documents since he failed to notice in the appendices that the consultants stated in their base projections that the customers in the Shoreline Water District pay more than the customers in Seattle Public Utilities. This is patently false according to the City of Shoreline website, the Shoreline Water District, and my own comparison of my SPU bill with someone who lives in the Shoreline Water District service area.

My point: I certainly do not doubt Mr. Montero's financial skills, but I wonder how carefully he reviewed the material. Mistakes like the one I pointed out shows that the analyses done by the city and reviewed by the steering committee are a garbage-in-garbage-out process.

Furthermore, the city states that SPU only spent $3 million in construction improvement on the Aurora Corridor. A public records request from the City of Seattle has shown that SPU has spent $22 million to date and when the project has finished Phase III it will have spent $26 million. How can you believe anything the City of Shoreline has stated in their FAQs when they make mistakes in their public relations material that are over $20 million?

Sheila Long,  October 1, 2012 at 9:02 AM  

Anonymous, why remain anonymous?

Numbers can nearly always be manipulated to show what folks want to see, but I believe the numbers posted in the article.
I don't like that we have to pay extra to Seattle because we live in Shoreline, and I don't like that we are paying for improvements in Seattle with fewer improvements made here.

Anonymous,  October 1, 2012 at 11:50 AM  

SPU will have made $30 million in improvements in the period 1996-2013 (less than 20 years), which is exactly what the city expects SPU to invest annually. So Sheila, what improvements do you want that we aren't obtaining? Furthermore, it was the Shoreline City Council that decided that $26 million should be invested in the Aurora Corridor, which in my book is called local control.

Sheila, if you had even bothered to read the City's feasibility study, they assert that SPU should have invested around $1.2-1.6 million per year in Shoreline. $30 million invested over 18 years is $1.6 million, so it is exactly what the city thought SPU should pay. Explain how Shoreline has been shafted. Not only that, but of the $26 million for the Aurora Corridor invested, at least 75% has been funded with bonds backed by the City of Seattle ratepayers and the deal with the City of Seattle sticks them with the bill for the bonds - Seattle is paying for 75% of that $26 million, which is $19.5 million. Shoreline is sticking Seattle ratepayers for $19.5 million. Not only that, but people in Shoreline regularly use Seattle parks and recreation facilities.

Shoreline has received more than their fair share of benefits from their payments from SPU, don't believe what the City of Shoreline & SPU Steering Committee propaganda tells you.

I guess you want your rates to up 5% and make the customers in the Shoreline Water District pay 10% more when the city takes them over in 2027. After all, it's not your money.

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