Tom Scaglione was assistant general manager and CFO at San Marcos’ Vallecitos Water District. He retired in May and now teaches at Palomar College in their water/wastewater technology program. He’s become a critic on a huge rip off to district ratepayers.
In 2012, the board of directors of the district tried to increase the sewer impact fees charged to developers wanting to build in the district, which covers San Marcos, plus small parts of Carlsbad, Vista, and unincorporated areas including Lake San Marcos.
“The developers didn’t want to pay it,” said Scaglione. “They took over the board in the 2012 election, ousting longtime members. It’s now a four-to-one majority for the developers. At their very first meeting, they started making accommodations to developers.”
“In 2012, Vallecitos had a $3 million deficit in the developer infrastructure fund,” said Scaglione.
On October 24, as part of the local multi-college campus symposium, Political Economy Days, he presented his scathing report at Palomar College on the State of Water Rates for ratepayers in the Vallecitos District. He reported that since 2012, customer’s rates went up 5.7 percent annually. The developer fund went up only 2.9 percent.
In the most recently adopted district budget,
$84.4 million in ratepayer’s funds will be accelerated to $96 million over the next five years. The developer fund will have a deficit of $44 million. Scaglione points out the district is using ratepayer funds to pay for new infrastructure caused by new development. The 21,000 district customers will pay an additional $552.38 each.
Scaglione says Vallecitos directors Mike Sannella and Hal Martin are in the developer’s pockets. “The development industry is spending $50,000 to get Sannella elected to the city council in the upcoming Nov 6 election.”
“The only ratepayer-focused person left on the board is Betty Evans,” said Scaglione.
In a telephone interview October 27, I asked what could ratepayers do to change the direction of ratepayer vs. developers? “San Marcos is run by developers,” he responded, pointing out that the Vallecitos Water District has the largest undeveloped boundary in the county.
While Scaglione’s report had several ideas for changing course in the district, he acknowledged there is no political will in the city to do that. “The developers come in here with a bunch of money and create a deception, and the ratepayers don’t stand a chance.”