Oxnard utility increase proposals overstated?

ColumnLogo-1By Phil Molina

Concerning the proposed rate increase for solid waste, aka environmental services, the data are insufficient to determine whether it really requires a rate increase at this time. Below you will see the summary chart of 5 years’ audited statements and  two graphics showing that the total revenues and operating expenditures have not yet settled down to a point of being able to predict results. However, at the utility rate policy committees, we were told that the recession had little negative and perhaps even a positive contribution to total revenues for solid waste.

OxnardMRF

Furthermore, we must remember that since June 2014 there has been a big change in the operations from a contract service to in-house management and city employees instead of contracted employees. These are very big changes and at least until we see the June 30, 2015 audited financial statements, no proposed rate changes can be justified with any type of “REAL” numbers. We only have the consultant’s estimated amounts. We have seen how, in water, the consultant was off by at least $20,000,000 in both total revenues and total expenditures, which does not make me feel warm and cuddly about any information I am hearing from that consultant.

Bottom line: Council should hold off on a rate change except to comply with Proposition 218, until we at least see the June 30, 2015 audited numbers, which are due out within a few weeks.

Phillip Molina

SolidWasteMolina10-6-15

On water:

If you look at the actual financial data (audits) of the water enterprise between 2010 and 2014 you will find what I did. The facts show that the amount of available cash (not cash with the fiscal agent) in the water department has been growing and for the last audited period was 93% of the total annual operating expenditures. This exceeds most water enterprise funds in the State. (see charts below or attached) There is enough available cash to operate the water department for a full year even if no one paid any of their water bill for a year.

OxnardWaterDept

Next if you look at the total revenue and total expenditure trends for that same period of time you will see that total revenues are growing faster than total operating expenditures.

So exactly what is the rush is getting a water rate increase? The only reason for the increase, is to try to soften the required increase in the rates for commercial, industrial, retail, and agriculture so that their rates match those we all pay. Remember the Corolla Engineer consultant the city hired stated public that there is not yellow, blue or green water but that all water sold to all users of Oxnard water get the same quality product.

Why not wait just a few weeks until the 2015 audit is competed so we can compare the revenues, expenditures, and total debt to prior years and to other water purveyors?

The 13th period financial reports show that the water enterprise available cash remains very high in proportion to annual operating expenditures, again indicating there is no pressing need to increase water rates at this time.

WaterEntCashMolina

 

WaterEntCashRevenueMolina

 

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Phil Molina is an Oxnard resident, former Oxnard Finance Director and “whistleblower,” who exposed alleged corruption, and was fired. He sued and won a large award, after many years of litigation.

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