SEPTEMBER 2020 REPORT FROM CAMBRIA CSD BOARD PRESIDENT HARRY FARMER
An issue that has been a topic of discussion in Cambria for the past half dozen years has been the CCSD’s Water Facility on San Simeon Creek Road. First known as the EWS, the Emergency Water Supply Project, it then became known as the AWTP, or Advanced Water Treatment Plant, and finally in February, 2016, the Sustainable Water Facility. The main questions on folks minds and lips are usually, will the plant ever operate, how much water can we get from it when it does run, how much will the water cost, and how much does, and will, the plant cost??
And while we have no real answer for the first few questions, we have a fairly good idea as to the cost accrued so far for the construction, upkeep and various payments made toward the Plant. To gather these figures, I took a few hours one day a week for a couple of months to write down these amounts, including when and who was paid, and why, from the District’s monthly Expenditure Report in the the Board of Directors Agenda Packet. In totaling these yearly amounts, which include items such as cost of building the Plant, various consultants of all types, including our Sacramento lobbyist for about three years, agency fees, legal fees, lab testing, even monthly spraying for gophers, to the roughly $660,000 a year we send to the bank until August of 2034 to pay off the loan so we finally own the Facility outright. To be as accurate as possible, I’ve subtracted some attorney’s costs when necessary.
Some folks have speculated that the Plant has cost at least $20,000,000. Recently the chairperson of the NCAC ( North Coast Advisory Council) made the general comment that the Plant was ours for a “reasonable cost”. Here’s what I’ve found.
In 2014, when the plant was built by CDM Smith, the total amount from July-December of that year was just under Eight Million Dollars. The following year, 2015, the cost was roughly $3,400,000. Since then the annual amount has fluctuated from just over $1,000,000 to about $2,200,000. So far this year, from January to June 2020, exactly six years since the first costs began, the amount is just over half a million dollars. Therefore, the total amount during this period is roughly $17,500,000.
As stated above, these are approximate costs that do not include salaries associated with the Facility, including those paid to our Chief Engineer who for many years stated the large majority of his time was devoted to the Facility in one fashion or another.
For clarity for both the candidates in this coming election, and the residents and rate payers of our community, I thought it would of value to provide this information, especially as the District has finally applied for the Coastal Development Permit for the Facility to the County Planning Department for review. If approved, it will go the Planning Commission, then our County Board of Supervisor for approval. If all this takes place, as we move into fall of 2020 and then into 2021, the Permit application could finally move on to the California Coastal Commission as early as summer of this coming year. Only time will tell what the final result will be.