Big Bear City, CA — As the Board of Directors for the Big Bear City Community Services District opted not to appoint a fifth board member during this week’s meeting (and, rather, hold for the November election), the bulk of the May 17 meeting included presentations on the district’s $13.8 million draft budget for fiscal year 2010/2011. In opening the presentation, which included proposed capital improvement projects for the district’s water, sewer and solid waste departments and the Big Bear City Fire Department, CSD President Marge McDonald said, “I am so pleased with this budget. For four years in a row, we have had no increases to constituents.” General Manager Mike Mayer concurred, adding, “The conservative approach has served us well. The district has an amazing story to tell, and the good news continues as we’ve been able to hold the line on all of our enterprises over four fiscal years.” The proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year does project slightly higher revenues, yet does not translate to increased fees for sewer, water and trash services provided for East Valley residents by the district; CSD’s miscellaneous employees, however, will likely receive a 2.4% COLA (or cost of living allowance) increase. Much of the CIP expenditures will go toward infrastructure upgrades for water and sewer systems, though the Big Bear City Fire Department has also proposed that their revenues might be directed toward a garage addition at roughly $200,000—with Chief Jeff Willis noting, “We’re busting at the seams, and I don’t think we’re going to find a better time to do this, construction-wise”—and a new Type I fire engine, estimated to cost in the neighborhood of $650,00 fully equipped. And though households within CSD’s jurisdiction will not see fee increases for services in the coming fiscal year, CSD Directors did vote to increase ambulance fees by 9% as of July 1, in keeping with the fee schedule established by the Inland Counties Emergency Medical Authority. The district also approved a 5.8% increase to commercial disposal fees, prompted by a fee increase levied by the San Bernardino County Solid Waste Management Division, though, as CSD’s Vice President John Day announced, “I want to point out that none of this affects the normal homeowner; we’re still at zero percent [increase].” As for the budget for the upcoming fiscal year, public comment will be welcomed at CSD’s regular meeting on June 7, with final budget adoption scheduled for June 21.
Firefighting Crews Battling 24 Fires on the San Bernardino National Forest; Monitoring Continues Today, Though (Still) No Fires in Big Bear