St. Helena Residents are Paying for Inept Government Services, Not Water

Residents of St. Helena have seen their water bills soar to more than twice the county’s average over the last 23 years with minimal improvement of services.

Proposition 218 requires utility rate studies every five years as justification for rate increases. In St. Helena, these studies have shown consistently that the city is in desperate need of capital improvement projects (CIPs) for their water and wastewater facilities currently estimated at $50 million. Why, then, is the city pursuing a mere $10 million bond? Is it an attempt to conceal the problem’s true extent?

During these rate studies, the same projects are cited repeatedly to support rate increases without progress….

Capital facilities need money, but what happened to the money that the taxpayers had already dedicated? A thorough independent examination of the city’s financial practices and infrastructure needs is imperative. The current approach of merely issuing bonds to maintain the status quo is unsustainable and does a disservice to residents. It’s time for transparency, accountability, and meaningful action to address St. Helena’s endemic water management challenges. [Read More]