Letters to the Editor: Aug. 15, 2008

More answers needed on Clean Water ballot

By now, all my fellow Del Mar residents should have received a ballot to approve the continued collection of a clean water service charge (that actually began in 2004) in your water bills to raise more than $500,000 per year to implement the state and federally mandated NPDES. The City plans to spend more than $530,000 to comply with these requirements. This amounts to an average of approximately $500 per household per year in Del Mar.

Hold on! In 2005, the State of California conducted a survey of annual costs several communities incurred in implementing the NPDES. Here are the results of the survey: (See graph below). The web site reference for this information and the full report is:


I understand that the referenced survey is a few years old and that our community is smaller than those surveyed, but I’d like a detailed explanation as to why our costs seems to be so much higher.

I’ve sent an email to one of our Council members and the City Manager asking for a detailed explanation as to where exactly the money being spent and why our costs are estimated to be 10 times more per household than any other City in the survey. I will ask them to publish their explanation in the Del Mar Times so we may all judge whether the City’s request to continue collecting this $500,000 charge is excessive or not.

Until we receive an explanation, I recommend you hold your vote (due date for the votes are Sept. 15).


Municipality Description - Cost/Household

City of Encinitas - $46

City of Fremont Bay Area - $45

City of Santa Clarita - $39

City of Corona - $32

City of Sacramento - $29

Fresno-Clovis Metropolitan Area - $18

Preston Vorlicek

Del Mar

Clean water fee is just a drop in the ocean

I hope every voting resident in Del Mar will reach for a pen right now and check the YES boxes on the mail-in ballot to approve the Clean Water fee.

Here’s why: The federal Clean Water Act requires Del Mar to take the necessary steps to prevent pollutants from run-off that goes into the stormwater drain system. The state is empowered to enforce the Clean Water Act and it does so through special permit-issuing boards. The San Diego board’s permits stipulate what cities, like ours, must do to clean the water. The most recent permit for San Diego county cities, including Del Mar, imposes more stringent and costly requirements than ever before, along with heavy-duty fines if we don’t follow through.

We must comply; however, Del Mar does not have the money to pay for what needs to be done. Our city revenues are already hard-pressed to meet the demands we have, not to mention the threat of the state to raid our coffers to balance its budget.

I don’t see that we have a choice. There is no question we must reduce pollution that threatens our lagoon and beach. There is no way we can thumb our nose at the requirements of the permit.

Solana Beach residents have approved their Clean Water fee. I hope Del Mar residents will do the same.

Carl Hilliard

Del Mar City Council