Guest Soapbox does not tell the whole story about rate increase - Hi-Desert Star: Letters To Editor

Guest Soapbox does not tell the whole story about rate increase

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Posted: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 5:26 pm

“Ninety-nine percent of all statistics only tell 49 percent of the story.” — Ron DeLegge II

A recent Guest Soapbox took great pains to share copious statistical numbers to persuade residents against the proposed Joshua Basin Water District rate increase. This article was remiss to mention other key statistics and information that if revealed, would present a whole different picture. After all, everyone knows it is misleading to compare apples to oranges.

Case in point: It was stated that JBWD has one human resources person on staff. The article was correct in that statement, but incorrect as it omitted the information that the HR person also works as JBWD’s contracting, procurement and insurance manager. That is four career job positions held down by one individual. This is a local resident, not four contracted consultants from outside of the area. Most would consider this as doing business smart and efficiently.

Also, it was stated that JBWD has an engineering/GIS department. GIS is a modern method of tracking and monitoring our system’s efficiencies. The article asserts there is no need for GIS. The truth is that most water providers do use GIS, and if they don’t currently have the ability, they are planning to have it in the near future.

What the article also failed to reveal is that years ago, JBWD was created from five or more small local water companies who did not maintain mapping of their underground pipe systems. Fast forward to modern times, and now, realtors and potential property owners are requesting information on obscure parcels for water access — and they want the answer sooner than yesterday. GIS assists in providing this service.

Curiously, the article omitted the fact that JBWD’s GIS coordinator also serves as development assistant and technology specialist — again, that’s multiple career jobs held by one individual!

It’s difficult to compare water providers. Considering our mountainous terrain (compared to the flatlands of Twentynine Palms), our different water chemistry, different demographics and economics, different delivery systems and all our other differences, you’ll find after further inspection that the differences outweigh the similarities. The truth is, there is a whole host of different work involved in providing water information and service for our community. Water providers are divided by the differences — not commonalities.

As Joshua Tree residents, our board leadership must live by the decisions they make. It would be easier to ignore the district’s needs as has been done in the past, regardless of the problems that have been accumulating over past years of deferred maintenance.

Eighty percent of current board members are on a fixed income like many in our community. And yes, they are sensitive to our community’s needs, and limited income, but they do not want to kick the can down the road any longer.

The JBWD Citizens Advisory Committee is a mixture of community representatives, half of whom are also on fixed incomes. The committee has studied this proposal, debating the pros and cons for months. Open public meeting workshops were held. Finally, the committee recommended this proposed rate increase to the board.

The area is changing. Technology is changing. Infrastructure is aging, and state regulations keep coming at the district’s expense. Fortunately, the current board’s desire to build a sustainable water system for our community prevails, even if it impacts their own pockets. They should be commended for forward-thinking and corrective action.

Again, you can’t compare apples to oranges, but you can ask for correct information by calling the district office at (760) 366-8438, or emailing, or visit our website at The real facts may tell you a whole different story!


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1 comment:

  • Roadrunner dessert posted at 9:50 pm on Thu, Feb 15, 2018.

    Roadrunner dessert Posts: 49

    The board has a $9 million surplus. Shows what happens if they save the money instead and repair what is broken. Now they want to stick us with a substantial increase. Unit charges are already much higher than rates I also pay in OC.


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