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By Roz Rogoff

About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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San Ramon is back in DSRSD

Uploaded: Dec 21, 2012
Ed Duarte put San Ramon back into the Dublin San Ramon Services District. Ed, who won election to the District, was sworn in as a Director on December 18th along with the two re-elected Directors, Pat Howard and Rich Halket. Vice-President Dawn Benson moved up to President and Director Georgean Vonheeder-Leopold was selected to be Vice President for 2013.

The District held a nice family party for the swearing in. I brought my camera and took a lot of photos but I can post only one with this blog. The photo from left to right shows Director Pat Howard, Director Rich Halket, President Dawn Benson, Vice-President Georgean Vonheeder-Leopold, and Director Ed Duarte. Ed is the first resident of San Ramon to serve as a Director since 2002.

The meeting featured a presentation by HomeServe USA on insurance for sewer and water laterals. These are the pipelines that go from the street (sewer) or water meter into the home and are the responsibility of the homeowner. Replacement or repair can cost thousands of dollars.

Ed Duarte, in his first meeting as a Director, questioned the representative from the insurance company about the reliability of the contractors selected for the repairs. The insurance rep said their contractors are carefully selected and continued use depends on customer satisfaction. Insurance for the sewer lateral is $8 a month and water lateral is $5 a month.

The water line goes from the water meter, usually at the front property line, into the house. Sewer lines are more expensive to repair and more icky. The sewer lateral goes from the house to the sewer pipe in the street.

This insurance can be purchased directly by the homeowner, but most homeowners, including me, don't think about it until something goes wrong. So the District is considering making it available as a service to its water and sewer users.

I asked the presenter if homeowners insurance covers this. He said no. Most homeowners are not aware this isn't covered by regular homeowners insurance and it isn't covered by the utilities. These connection lines are the responsibility of the homeowner.

I am considering getting this insurance for myself. My house is 40 years old and that's just about when these things start to self-destruct. The Directors received the presentation favorably and staff will look into offering this option as a benefit to residents.

I left the meeting after the insurance presentation and before the Directors voted on committee assignments. Here's the list from the press release:

External Affairs: Director Duarte and Director Howard. They also will serve as liaisons to the cities of Dublin, San Ramon, and Livermore and to the school districts in the communities served by the District.

Finance: President Benson and Director Halket.

Personnel: President Benson and Director Howard.

Wastewater: Director Duarte and Vice President Vonheeder-Leopold. They also will serve as liaisons to the City of Pleasanton (DSRSD treats Pleasanton's wastewater via contract) and as delegates to the board of the Livermore-Amador Valley Water Management Agency (LAVWMA), a joint powers authority comprised of DSRSD, Livermore and Pleasanton. LAVWMA pipelines convey treated wastewater to a deep water outfall in the San Francisco Bay.

Water: Director Halket and Vice President Vonheeder-Leopold. They also will serve as liaisons to Zone 7 Water Agency, the District's wholesale water supplier; on the Committee of Valley Water Retailers, and as delegates to the board of the DSRSD-EBMUD Recycled Water Authority (DERWA), which produces and distributes recycled water for irrigation through the San Ramon Valley Recycled Water Program.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Rich Halket, a resident of Dublin,
on Dec 21, 2012 at 6:21 pm


Nice writeup. However,San Ramon was never out of DSRSD.

Merry Christmas


Posted by Did you know, a resident of Dublin,
on Jan 3, 2013 at 9:38 pm

DSRSD has been increasing rates well beyond the rate of inflation or even what's justified given their additional projects. The truth is the DSRSD has been raising rates for several years to help fund accelerating compensation and management & employee bonuses. This group needs much more oversight. Wasn't it Mayor Hosterman (Pleasanton)who first called them out regarding excessive rate increases? Or maybe it was the Around Dublin Blog that challenged them for their outrageous employee bonuses that were only possible because they raised taxpayer rates.

If you need money to fund bonuses I guess you just raise rates while pointing out how you saved a few insinifigant bucks. These people are "jacking up" taxpayer rates and it has nothing to do with good management. They're just padding their own pockets, pensions, and bonus program.

Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Jan 4, 2013 at 12:40 am

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.

Dear "Did"

The bonus program was discontinued at the beginning of 2012. Salaries have been frozen as far as I know. If you are talking about water rates increasing, that's because Zone 7, which supplies the water DSRSD delivers is increasing their rates and DSRSD must pass the increases on to their customers.

I'm a sewer customer not a water customer. Sewer rates are on the property tax bill and honestly I haven't checked to see if they've gone up in the last couple of years. I probably should look into that.

DSRSD has been doing a pretty good job the last couple of years keeping costs down, but they have to pass rate increases from Zone 7 on to users. That's another reason Zone 7 should separate from Alameda County. They would have more control over their own costs and budgets and rates could come down.


Posted by "Did", a resident of Dublin,
on Jan 4, 2013 at 3:39 am

"The bonus program was discontinued at the beginning of 2012...DSRSD has been doing a pretty good job the last couple of years keeping costs down"

Roz, the bonus program was only discontinued, in 2012, because the DSRSD was challenged to justify the very large bonuses which were only affordable because the DSRSD included the cost (for all employee bonuses) in the consumer rate increases. The management/employee bonuses had nothing to do with good management; more like bad management of tax dollars for personal gain. I've come to realize that special districts like the DSRSD do NOT have anyone (REAL tax payer representatives) holding management accountable for the squandering of tax dollars. And to date, The DSRSD is still paying some obscene employee perks/bonuses that are absolutely unjustifiable.

The DSRSD has not been doing a good job of keeping costs down. I've read the articles about their use of buying power to save money but the small amount of money saved through this program is peanuts compared to the amount of tax dollars they're using to pad their own pockets, pensions, and bonus program (not the one they discontinued). At some point we need to challenge what some refer to as the "Status Quo". I think if you were to analyze the rate increases over the past seven years you too would find them excessive.

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