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Is Water Availability an Elemental Concern?

Sally Lawrence REALTOR®, http://yourrealadvantage.com, 661.375.7325I’ve written before about what a great place Stallion Springs is to live. I’ll stand by all my previous praise.

One of the things that makes Stallion Springs such a great place is the willingness of its residents to join together and fight for what they believe to be right.  Here’s another one of those opportunities that is galvanizing folks on both sides of the issue.

Stallion Springs is in danger of losing its water supply. Perhaps that sounds a bit overly dramatic, but read on to see what’s going on.

Where does Stallion Springs water come from?  Stallion Springs draws most of its water from the Cummings Valley basin.  In addition to Stallion Springs, Bear Valley Springs, Fairview Ranches, CCI (California Corrections Institute) and a number of agricultural users also draw their water from the Cummings Valley Basin.

In recent years the water usage within the basin has approached the published “safe yield.”  In at least one year, usage has exceeded the safe yield.

Why does it matter?  Users within the basin are able to draw water without having to recharge the basin.  Stallion Springs and Bear Valley Springs have to recharge the basin for the water that they draw out.

As a result of the virtually unrestricted pumping allowed within the basin, the water table has dropped by 50 feet in the last decade.

If things continue unabated, it is possible that Stallion Springs could indeed lose its affordable water supply.

Sally Lawrence REALTOR®, HomeSalesSally, http://homeSalesSally.com, 661.375.7325What is an alternative?  Recurrent Energy had proposed a solar project for 300 acres within the Cummings Valley.  That project would reduce the ground water pumping for those 300 acres to an insignificant amount.  Even better for Stallion Springs, the proposed solar project is located near the wells that Stallion Springs owns in Cummings Valley.

My personal take as a Stallion Springs resident is that I would prefer to see the Cummings Valley left pretty much as-is.  Unfortunately, I don’t see that as a reality.  It seems to me that the valley will continue to change and that a solar project may actually be a better use of those 300 acres than unrestricted water pumping by an agricultural user as we had before.

What can you do?  If you are a resident, or just interested in the outcome of this important issue, please contact Zack Scrivener, the 2nd District Supervisor by scrivnerz@co.kern.ca.us, phone his office at 661-868-3660 or fax 661-868-3666. Let him know that keeping water available in Stallion Springs is important to you.

Please forward this to everyone you know.  If you like the content, subscribe for free on the right.

Finally, I’d appreciate it if you would copy me at Water@HomeSalesSally.com on any correspondence to Mr. Scrivner so that I can keep track of the interest level.

As always, thanks for reading.  If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at 661.375.REAL

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Water Issues in Stallion Springs

If you live in a city, how often do you think about water?  Where it comes from, how you get it, what’s it cost, etc?  For most people the answer is probably, “not often.”  For most people in Stallion Springs, I bet it’s the same answer.  I know that was true for me up until the last year or so.  I have decided that it is important to k now what’s going on in our community with respect to services provided to us.

One of the best ways to get up to speed on the complexities of managing our community is to attend Board Meetings.  Just so happens there’s one tonight at 7:00 p.m.  In fact, there is a Stallion Springs Board Meeting on the third Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. at the CSD building, 27800 Stallion Springs Drive.

Tonight’s meeting is worth attending because it addresses several water-related issues residents should be aware of.  The Board will be discussing Ordinance 141 and a separate water rate increase.

Ordinance 141 covers avoiding fees proposed by the Tehachapi Cummings County Water District (TCCWD).  Ordinance 141 will be presented and discussed at this evening’s Board Meeting, and voted on at the January 19, 2010 Board Meeting.  The General Manager’s recommendation is to approve Ordinance 141.  Following it’s approval, property owners will need to sign the “Covenant Relating to the Extraction of Ground Water.”  The Covenant will also need to be recorded.  The General Manager will arrange to meet with residents and a notary to execute the Covenant.

This pretty much seems to be a no-brainer. Property owners will execute the Covenant which gives the CSD authority to act as the property owner’s agent with respect to extracting ground water located on their property.  In effect, there is no difference to property owners water delivery pre – or – post Covenant.

The second issue addresses rate increases.   Essentially, water costs are increasing and residents are going to be asked to pay for those costs.  The District wants to implement a policy that will allow future rate increases based on the Consumer Price Index – All Urban Consumers, All Items Index, Western Cities with populations between 50,000 and 1,500,000 (CPI-U) increase for that year.  Confused?

What this boils down to is that, if the Resolution passes, the District can (but does not have to) increase water rates in a percentage no greater than the increase in the CPI-U.  So, there may be no increase, or a percentage increase smaller than or up to the amount of the CPI-U.  The Resolution also states, “Additionally, the Board may not go back in time to recapture previous CPI increases which were not captured by the Board.”  Finally, although the Resolution, if passed, will go into effect immediately, no changes in rates will appear until the May meter read bill.

Be aware that the proposed rate increase does not address replacing any aging infrastructure.  That’s yet another issue.

In my opinion, the District has addressed these issues in a fiscally responsible manner.  That begins with combining the Public Protest Hearing notice with the routine assessment notices in order to save on postage.

Be a part of the community. Get educated about the issues and be part of finding appropriate solutions.  Comments, suggestions, and ideas are welcome.

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Great reasons to live in a small town

One of the things I love about living in Stallion Springs in the small town sense of community.  This was brought home yet again while reading the latest issue of Consumer Reports magazine.    Consumer Reports conducted a survey in late September.   They asked 1125 people to rate annoyances on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the most annoying.   Hidden fees ranked the highest at 8.9, closely followed by an 8.6 score for inability to reach a human being by telephone.

I was somewhat surprised that comparatively few people were annoyed by fast drivers.  Many more found slow drivers to be an issue.  I’d have to agree with that as far as it goes, but my big annoyance is drivers who are unable to maintain their lane.  Driving is a skill and too many people view it as a chore — something to be gotten through rather than something at which to excel.

Which gets me off my soapbox and back to where I started.  One of the things that I love is that if you call the Stallion Springs Community Services District (SSCSD) office during business hours, you almost invariably get a live answer, no waiting.  As for hidden fees, we don’t have any.  Charges are clearly shown on the water / refuse bills and other fees are paid through the tax bill.  There isn’t any effort to hide anything.

In fact, the best way to stay on top of what’s going on with respect to running the SSCSD is to attend a Board meeting.  They are held the third Tuesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. in the CSD office.  Stop by and check it out and get more familiar with Stallion Springs.  See you there!

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