WELCOME TO THE CONVERSATION!
I’ve created this blog to make more information available more quickly to more people. Topics of interest to the Yosemite West community include potential utility rate increases, a possible connection to the NESC campus on Henness Ridge Road to supply water, and a secondary water source to serve the community, among others. Since a number of documents are relevant to these topics and others, I’ve included links to them in this blog. I hope you’ll take a look, ask questions and comment. I look forward to hearing from you.
Reclaiming Increased Yosemite West Utility Fees
In February 2018, the Mariposa County Board of Supervisors voted to approve the formation of a Zone of Benefit under which the Board also approved increases to the rates charged for water and wastewater services in Yosemite West. In March 2018, Mr. Thomas Kroon challenged the formation of the Zone and the rate increases. In May 2020, Mr. Kroon prevailed. Three court documents became available on June 11, 2020 and can be viewed here: https://www.mariposacounty.org/blog.aspx?iid=16
Yosemite West rate payers may therefore submit a claim for repayment of the increased funds collected for water and wastewater utilities during the period from March 1, 2018 to June 30, 2020. The first step in the claims process is for the claimant to submit a request for repayment (on the form available at http://www.mariposacounty.org/DocumentCenter/View/20387/Claims-against-the-County-Form?bidId= ) to the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors. The form may be emailed or sent via the Postal Service. If emailed, send it to René LaRoche at email@example.com with a copy to Danielle Wardle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Clerk’s office will coordinate with County Public Works which approves the amount of the claim. Once approved, County Counsel’s office will send a letter notifying the claimant of the approval for that amount and include a Release of All Claims form for the claimant to have their signature notarized. Once County Counsel receives the notarized form (or alternatively, the Legal Assistant to County Counsel can notarize it for a claimant), the check is either handed to them (if notarized by the Legal Assistant) or it will be mailed to them.
NEXT STEPS ON YW RATE INCREASES AND RELATED DOCUMENTS
LEGAL PROCESS FOR RATE INCREASES
Based on input from Mariposa County’s outside counsel, Colantuono, Highsmith and Whatley, the County intends to follow the process necessary to propose increases to water and wastewater rates as defined in Proposition 218. Instead of pursuing that process in the context of the YW Zone of Benefit (which the Court has ordered be dissolved because of a lawsuit filed by Mr. Thomas Kroon), the process will occur under the framework of Mariposa County Service Area-1. As a first step, Mariposa County Public Works will contract with Bartle Wells Associates (BWA). The statement of work for that contract is expected to be similar to the section of the County’s contract with Pinnacle ART (dated July 16, 2015) concerning the rate study (see page 4 of 5 in Exhibit A) available here. The Engineer’s Report (without the section on roads) but inclusive of the rate structure proposed by BWA is available here.
DOCUMENTS RELATED TO MR. KROON'S SUIT
In February 2018, the Mariposa County Board of Supervisors voted to approve the formation of a Zone of Benefit under which the Board also approved increases to the rates charged for water and wastewater services. In March 2018, Mr. Thomas Kroon challenged the formation of the zone of benefit and the rate increases. In May 2020, Mr. Kroon prevailed. Three court documents became available on June 11, 2020: Final Judgment, Stipulation Re: Entry of Judgment and Preemptive Writ of Mandate To Respondent County of Mariposa.
POSSIBLE CONNECTION OF YW WATER SYSTEM
TO NESC CAMPUS
PROVOST AND PRITCHARD ENGINEERING ANALYSIS PROPOSAL AND DRAFT REPORT
Mariposa County contracted with Provost and Pritchard to complete an engineering analysis of expected water usage by the NESC campus and the impacts of that use on the YW water system. That analysis will also recommend fees and water use rates. A copy of the proposal is available in pdf format here. A copy of the draft report is available in pdf format here. Under the contract, P&P is responsible to meet with members of the YW District Advisory Committee and other members of the community. As of June 14, 2020 a date hasn't been set for that meeting.
NOTIFICATION TO NON-SUBDIVISION PROPERTY OWNERS
I have addressed a letter to property owners outside the Yosemite West subdivision of the County's conversation with the Park Service and NatureBridge regarding formation of a utility service area outside of Yosemite West that could deliver water from YW (available here).
COMMUNICATIONS WITH STATE WATER RESOURCES CONTROL BOARD
In Summer 2019, the County engaged in conversations with Kassy Chauhan, Senior Sanitary Engineer with the California State Water Resources Control Board, regarding a possible connection of the YW water system with the NESC campus on Henness Ridge Road. Ms. Chauhan responded with two letters. The first is dated September 9, 2019 (available here) and it included a reference to a recently completed sanitary survey report dated September 4, 2019 (available here). In that letter, Ms. Chauhan describes what she terms a “Golden Opportunity” associated with the potential partnership that could add 200,000 gallons of water storage to the YW system (see page 3) of the letter. On September 19, 2019, Ms. Chauhan sent a second letter (available here) in which she provided additional information, including calculations of available water assuming new home construction of about four homes per year, concluding that the community could continue to build out for 24 years without adding the NESC campus to the system and for about 20 years if the NESC campus is added. Mariposa’s Building Department identified new construction and remodeling permits since 2015 (available here).