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Rancho Ortega Blog discusses matters of public interest in South Orange County, including the communities of San Juan Capistrano, Ladera Ranch and Rancho Mission Viejo.

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San Juan Councilman Publishes Blog Focused on City Affairs

San Juan Capistrano residents and other interested in SJC city politics may be interested in knowing that City Councilman Larry Kramer has started writing a blog.  It is located at and seems primarily focused on reporting City Council actions.

In this blog post, Kramer posts his thoughts on the City Council and Utilities Commission’s joint water and sewer rate study workshop.  Below is Kramer’s blog:

Here are some important items that came before the City Council/Utilities Commission at a Joint Rate Workshop on March 18th. All votes were unanimous except where otherwise noted. The Utilities Commissioners voted yes on all 4 items.
1. Changes to the water and sewer developer impact fees. The one time sewer fee will increase by about $150 and the water fee will decrease by about $1,000. Derek Reeve voted No.
2. Sewer rate structure: The sewer rates will not increase until 2019 when they will increase by 5%. Derek Reeve voted No.
3. Water rate structure: 25% of fixed costs are covered by service charges and then by a tiered rate structure. This is a similar structure to what is used now but there are changes:
a. The amount of water allowed in Tier 1 has been increased by 50%.
b. The lowest water rate is increased from $3.18 to $3.41 per unit and the highest is reduced from $11.67 to $5.15 per unit starting July 2014.
c. This structure has the least impact on customers; 20% will see no increase or a decrease and about 70% will see an increase of less than $10 per month starting July 2014.
d. Water rates will increase 5% each year hereafter.
e. Derek Reeve and Roy Byrnes voted No.
4. Non-potable rate structure: This is a new rate structure similar to that of the water rate structure with the lowest tier at $3.09 per unit and highest at $3.76 per unit. Applicable to large irrigation areas. Derek Reeve and Roy Byrnes voted No.
5. The City Council and Utilities Commission have each had 5 rate meetings. There were also two water forums. Very few residents participated. The report will be issued on April 17 for public comment. The rates are scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2014.

In another blog post, Kramer discusses his view on the controversial Groundwater Recovery Plant and why he opposes efforts to regionalize it.

While the blog is no doubt part of the larger debate between Kramer’s Council majority and the groups allied with the Council minority, we appreciate the transparency and information that the blog provides.  With the restructuring of the Patch, local coverage of San Juan politics seems to be more sparse than ever.  It’s a sad day when we depend on the City Councilmembers to self-report on City Council activities, but here we are.  Thank you, Mr. Kramer, for providing this information to the people of San Juan Capistrano.

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