Simi Valley Council pushes off vote on two issues: Term Limits and Selling City’s Recycled Water

By Debra Tash

Mayor Huber asked staff to study putting term limits for council members on the ballot and let the voters decide whether or not to enact it.  He said, “I was the one who raised the issue as I did in 2011.”  The School Board moved to place term limits for their seats on the November 2016 ballot.  The Mayor admired their backbone and he said people had contacted him on the issue.  Huber also wants the people to decide the length of the term limits, 8 years or 12, they would decide.

Council Member Glen Becerra said he wouldn’t vote to put the issue on the ballot unless the citizens of Simi Valley wanted to do it.  He believes that there is a turnover in the council as it is, and  the voters already remove who they want off the council.  Of the current members, Becerra has the served the longest.

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Keith Mashburn didn’t want to table the issue permanently.  “The folks are looking for term limits.”  He sited the problem with career politicians.

The discussion veered to the elections of mayors.  Moorpark, Ojai, Oxnard and Simi Valley are the only cities in the County where voters elect their mayors by direct vote.  In the other six cities have their mayors elected by council members.

Mashburn’s position won out, and the matter was tabled but will come back to the council.  If they approve it for the ballot it will be decided at the November 2016 election and could cost up to $12,000 for the measure.

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Next matter to be discussed at length was Simi Valley’s recycled water.  The city produces 9100 acre feet per year.  The State allows Simi to use 4700 of that while the remainder is discharged into the Arroyo Simi.  One acre foot is equal to roughly 326,000 gallons.  There are two customers who use the recycled water now, the Simi Valley Landfill and Simi Valley Public Works.  They only take 100 acre feet per year.

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In 2008 the City devised a Master Plan, Simi Valley Water Recycling Project (WSVWRP), for using the recycled water.  It entails an expensive build out to provide the commodityr to various customers at a 15% rate reduction for the user.  However, the staff was unable to provide the Council with exact costs for the infrastructure and contracts, or some kind of surety that customers would pay their end of the bill for hookups to the system.  There is also interest for the water by customers outside the city limits, the city of Moorpark, farmers, Thousand Oaks, Sunset Hills Golf Course, etc. Council Members expressed the view that the City should keep its water.

Recycled infrastructure project in phases

Recycled infrastructure project in phases

Council Member Steven T. Sojka said, “Need cold hard numbers.”  And that’s what they did, directing staff to come back to the Council with more detailed financial information.

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Debra Tash is Editor-in-Chief of Citizensjournal.us, past president for Citizens Alliance for Property Rights, business executive and award-winning author, residing in Somis.

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