NCT Property Tax Revenue to Decline
The number of homeowners requesting lower property tax payments because of falling house values should approach record levels and add another strain to local budgets struggling with falling sales tax revenue, county and local officials said this week.
NCT Water Use Regulated in Escondido
ESCONDIDO ---- City residents might soon be forced to cover their swimming pools every night, water their lawns only two days a week and turn off their backyard fountains.
NCT Carlsbad Considering Pension Reform
Mayor Bud Lewis plans to put forward his proposal to overhaul the city's pension system early next year and wants to see it go on the ballot in 2010. "I want it to be the key point of the (2010) election," Lewis said Thursday as he discussed the proposal, which calls for cutting retirement benefits for future city employees rather than existing ones. Carlsbad is one of a number of cities contemplating reducing its pension benefits.
NCT Solar Panels Turned On
The $3.5 million roof project was completed in October. Civic leaders and city staff dedicated it in an informal ceremony at City Hall on Wednesday. The project is expected to pay for itself in 12 years and save taxpayers about $4 million over a 25-year period.
Despite the decisions by hundreds of homeowners to install solar panels in response to state and federal financial incentives, rooftop solar provides less than 1 percent of the electricity San Diego County residents use to light and cool their homes.
Bill Powers, an engineer from San Diego who suggests the region should set aside the idea of building a new power line and invest in rooftop solar instead, said there is a reason why: Homeowners can't sell surplus electricity to utilities.
Thanks to a law passed in 1996 when lawmakers set the stage for California's disastrous experiment with electricity deregulation, a homeowner can get a credit for the power he generates to offset his electric bill.
But if at the end of the year, if what's generated is more than what's used, the homeowner won't get cash for that power.
ETA Note: At the energy forum, the UCAN representative made a weakly supported suggestion that an alternative approach for San Diego's energy infrastructure was distributed power generation and upgraded local power plants. This vision was vague and couldn't be evaluated by the audience.
The SDG&E representative countered by asking the audience how many people had solar on their home. Few raised their hands. It is not economical for most people to retrofit their roofs with solar and, consequently, it is unrealistic to think a majority of people will go solar soon.
If this new law passes it will strengthen market forces in the direction of more solar on homes. It is unclear if it will motivate many more people to invest in solar. It is clear that the new law would make the energy market more fair and free.
Fifty or so residents turned out at a community forum presented by the Encinitas Taxpayers Association to hear presentations from representatives from San Diego Gas & Electric Co. and the Utility Consumer Action Network about how the proposed Sunrise Powerlink project will effect their community ---- and more specifically, their utility bill...
Encinitas resident Kathleen Lindermann asked Crider whether she could expect to see a reduction in her utility bill if the power line was built.
“I don’t know,” responded Crider. “There are a lot of forces that go into rates and I can’t tell you that.”
Despite Crider’s evasive answer, Lindermann said she was pleased she attended the forum. “How often do you get people from both sides to talk about an issue like this?” she asked.