Re: the letter “Utility transfer has history on its side,” Mailbag, March 29. I have been a fan of Jim Starbird for many years. He was a great Glendale city manager and a very nice person to boot.
The flaw that I see in his discussion of the fund transfer from Glendale Water & Power to the General Fund is not whether it is legal or has precedent, but with the accounting procedures used in arriving at the amount available to be transferred.
What seems to have happened is money is transferred and then we are told the water and power distribution systems are falling apart and we need more money to fix them.
Everyone knows that old wooden reservoirs and cast-iron pipes will not last forever and will need to be replaced some day and funds should be set aside as we go along for such replacements.
The people we pay good salaries at GWP should be able to figure out what will need to be replaced and when and for how much and set aside money from our utility rates to pay for those repairs.
Don’t transfer all the surplus funds from GWP to the General Fund and then come to the residents with prognostications of disaster if we don’t approve a rate increase to make the repairs.
At the end of Mr. Starbird’s letter he suggests that ignoring the “multiple generations of wisdom, experience, integrity, accountability and public engagement involved” unfairly ignores the justification for the transfer. I suggest the one thing that was ignored was that wooden reservoirs and cast-iron pipe would need to be replaced.
The obvious problem is we don’t have enough tax revenue to run the city and need the transfer to make ends meet. It all works out just fine until the pipe breaks or the reservoir needs to be replaced.