The below comments were made by Park and Recreation Committee member Barry Levinson at the September 14, 2015 committee meeting.
FACTS WE NOW KNOW ABOUT LAGUNA LAKE by Barry Levinson
- Per statistics I directly asked for and received from the City of Fullerton’s Water System Manager, Dave Schickling, water usage at Laguna Lake was almost identical over the last five years.
Therefore it begs the question why did the city not consider taking any action before now? Why didn’t Mr. Schickling inform the Parks and Recreation Committee about this ongoing long-term water loss problem at Laguna Lake?
- We now know that the city of Fullerton has not been identifying the cost of water used by the city as a separate line item in the budget but rather passing all of its costs thru to the ratepayers in Fullerton. Considering that water is one of the larger costs necessary to run the Parks and Recreation Department, it begs the following question: Why did the city not identify this significant cost as part of the Park and Recreation budget?
The current pass thru method hides the true cost to run this department and for that reason it needs to be changed.
I ask that Director Curiel invite Mr. Schickling to come before this committee next month to explain why the city ignored this water issue at Laguna Lake for many years and at the same time did not make it known to the public. I also ask that we agendize a change in how water is accounted for by the Parks and Recreation Department. Therefore, I would like to place a motion now that the Fullerton Parks and Recreation Department changes the way it accounts for its water usage from the current pass-thru method to Fullerton ratepayers to an itemized expense included in the costs for the Parks and Recreation Department. As part of this motion I also request Mr. Schickling provide to us a written proposal for this conversion along with a specific time table to complete the task. Do I have a second on this motion?
May the minutes of this meeting include all my comments on this subject? Finally, for the record, I will be giving a copy of my comments to the Department to make it very easy for them to include accurately all my remarks into tonight’s meeting minutes.
That concluded my prepared remarks during the Parks and Recreation Committee meeting.
This most needed change would provide for an accurate accounting of all costs to run the department. The current pass-thru method hides the true cost of the Parks and Recreation Department. In fact, if we had a proper accounting of the water costs used by the Parks and Recreation Department all along, anyone looking at the Parks and Recreation Department budgets would have clearly noticed the spike in water costs many, many years ago. City government transparency must start with an accurate accounting of all costs required to run the city. This agenda item should have the support of every Park and Recreation Committee member at the next committee meeting.
PS: Back in June the city of Fullerton was seriously considering allowing the lake to go dry due to excessive loss of water. If it was not for the many Fullerton residents who showed up at that city council meeting to clearly state their opposition to that plan, the lake would probably now be dry. Why is that significant? The lake was a source of water for the fire fighting helicopters for the recent W. Coyote Hills fire. Without that water supply the damage caused by that fire could have been worse including loss of homes and maybe even lives.
I report, you decide.