Issuu on Google+

September 22, 2011 Ramona Sentinel VOL. 125, ISSUE 31• 50¢ 1 THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2011 Inside RideFACT Low ridership marks the end of RideFACT senior transportation service in Ramona, effective Oct. 5.............3 Water board adopts $28 million budget Directors form ad hoc committee to work with district’s ag customers By KAREN BRAINARD Regional win Ramona High senior Dylan Blankenbaker takes first place in the Division 2 senior boys race at the Mount Carmel/Movin’ Shoes meet in San Diego...........24 Index Presorted Standard US Postage PAID Ramona CA Permit No 136 Our Town....................6 Opinion......................8 Worship Director.......10 Sports........................24 Classifieds.................28 Coupons....................37 Obituaries.................38 Ramona Municipal Water District (RMWD) directors approved a $28 million operating budget for fiscal year 2011-12 and agreed to form an ad hoc committee to address proposed untreated water rates at the request of agricultural customers. In an unusual circumstance, the board will not be adopting new water and sewer rates until after a public hearing on Oct. 25. Normally one public hearing is held for the budget and the rates, and the board votes on those items simultaneously before the July 1 start of the fiscal year. This year the budget and rate adoptions were postponed to Sept. 13 for a water rate study to be prepared by plained that the district was seeking a budget adoption last Tuesday because it must file a budget with the county and it has loan requirements that require an annual audit and adopted budget. An adopted budget would also provide fiscal guidelines to staff, he said. The budget can be revised, Barnum added, if in October the board chooses to decrease proposed rates, but that would take a couple of months. While the proposed treated water rate is to remain the same as last year, the un- treated rate shows an increase of 60 cents per unit, a 22 percent increase. Former RMWD board member Doug Wilsman spoke at the budget hearing on Sept. 13, addressing the fact that it did not include adoption of rates. “We have a budget that is unique in history,” he said. “I’ve watched budgets at least since 1990. I never saw one like this before.” Wilsman said he reviewed the Raftelis rate study and told the board: “I think you ought See RMWD on page 12 School enrollment continues to drop RCS parents peeved at teacher transfers By MAUREEN ROBERTSON Ramona Unified School District reported a student enrollment of 7,238 at the beginning of the 2002-03 school year. Since then, with the exception of one year, school officials have witnessed a steady decline in enrollment, with 6,155 students enrolled in district schools last week. “As we know, it’s the key to finances,” Assistant Superintendent David Ostermann said during his enrollment report last Thursday. “It makes up the ADA (average daily attendance) that generates the dollars for us.” See ENROLLMENT on page12 Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard 600 CLUB—Eight students at James Dukes Elementary School receive certificates Friday morning, Sept. 16, for earning perfect scores of 600 on their California State Tests (CST) and being named to the school’s “600 Club.” The students are, from left, Cheyenne Stevens, Caleb Coyle, Adon Yoder, Emily Shohara, Athena Kendzar, Michaela Meskell, Sean McDonald and Joaquin Gonzales. Community cooperating with weed abatement program, says inspector By ROSE MARIE SCOTT-BLAIR “The Ramona community has stepped up and is doing their part to help themselves and us prepare for the danger of wildland fires,” said Jeremy Davis, fire inspector for the Ramona Fire Department. “We are doing much better than last year when we had 21 forced abatements. This year we’ve had P.O. Box 367 Ramona, CA 92065 an outside firm, Raftelis Financial Consultants Inc. As required by state law, the water district sent the Proposition 218 notice to customers with proposed not-to-exceed rates at least 45 days before the Sept. 13 public hearing. A clerical error by the law firm preparing the notice, however, left out the time of the hearing which necessitated reissuing the letter and giving another 45 days for the rates hearing. RMWD Chief Financial Officer and Assistant General Manager David Barnum ex- only one, with the possibility of four more.” A “forced abatement” occurs when a property owner refuses to respond to an inspection notice demanding that the property be cleared of brush, weeds and other flammable items. In that case, the fire agency hires a contractor to do the clean-up, and the owner is billed for the work. Davis attributes this year’s success to a change in how the fire inspections are being done. In the recent past the fire department hired an outside company to do the inspections and work with the public. This year the Ramona Fire Prevention Office is doing its own inspections. “We can talk to residents directly and assist with the process,” Davis said. “We didn’t have that See ABATEMENT on page 14

Ramona Sentinel 9-22-2011

Related publications