Assessment questions need some answers

North Hills District residents have received a map showing the basis for their undergrounding assessments. We in the Sunset District are still waiting for the assessment engineer to provide us with his revised formula based on our unique topography. Most people in both areas are feeling nervous because planning that has taken staff several years now is requiring residents to make a decision within 45 days of receiving their assessment and then amassing thousands of dollars within 30 days if they want to pay up front. Owners will be provided with the cost only of their share of the undergrounding. Many residents have questions about the bonding and costs separate from their property assessment.

  1. If I do not want to participate in the bonding, may I get an individual mortgage for the amount due?
  2. How do I find out precisely where my SDG&E connection is so I can get an estimate for a 4-foot-deep trench and hook up to the electrical panel on my house? Depending upon distances plus possible concrete, road, rocks, trees and roots to be cut, I need to know my costs. (Residents who have already undergrounded report this cost as $5,000 or much more.) Will I need a new electrical panel? If the wiring in my home is not up to code, will I have to rewire my house?
  3. What will be the cost of conduits through the trench to my house for cable, electricity and phone? Will there be a charge for pulling the wires through the conduits?
  4. How much will it cost me to hire a licensed electrician to complete the connection? And how much for the cable company and phone company?
  5. Will I have to apply to the city for permits for those connections, and what do the permits cost?
  6. I watch TV on my computer and do not need a cable connection. Must I pay for it anyway? I do not have a land phone; must I pay for the telephone connection?
  7. If I lose telephone, electrical or cable service, currently the providers pay for the repairs outside the house. If the problem is in the underground hook-up, must I pay for the digging to identify the nature of the problem and then hire a licensed person to make the repair?
  8. Suppose I do not return my ballot. Will my omission be considered a “no” or a “yes” vote? What is the exact formula for weighing the votes?
  9. “What are we doing to make the new installations look attractive? Transformer boxes are ugly!”
  10. Two councilmen must redact themselves as their homes are in North Hills. Considering the millions involved, will the three remaining council persons raise the percentage to at least 67 percent for passage?
Many of these questions require individual answers and require each resident making a decision to consider costs separate from the simple assessment.

Arlene Lighthall is a Del Mar resident.