As the chair of the Stanislaus Regional Water Authority, I take our region's groundwater crisis very seriously. Reliable drinking water is our most precious commodity. Without a long-term solution for water our communities will suffer. Recently I felt compelled to address the misinformation that is being spread by some candidates for Turlock mayor.
Campaign mailers' lies have been debunked by experts: the water plant will not raise Turlock water rates by 400 percent but will on average only increase a Turlock resident's bill by $16 per month. Yes, for some $16 per month is expensive but the experts stated there are no options that are more cost-effective than the plant. The cost for treating groundwater will too continue to rise as the state imposes stricter regulations.
I'm not only surprised by Councilmember Bublak's attack on this much needed project, but I am also saddened. Bublak served on the Board for 21 months and approved nearly $10 million in funding to further the project. While she always questioned project costs and was a good steward of the budget, not once did she voice opposition to the project. In fact, she agreed with the other board members that this project is vitally essential for our region. The project scope, magnitude and cost estimates are still nearly the same today as when she voted in favor, and supported, the project. So what changed? I am hopeful that politics is not being used at the expense of such an important project.
Mayor Gary Soiseth has been a major champion for this project and was instrumental in moving it forward. Without his leadership we would still be struggling to develop a long-term solution for providing clean, safe and reliable source of drinking water to our communities.
I have assured our partners at TID that the City of Ceres will be moving forward with this project with or without the City of Turlock. However, I am hopeful the residents of Turlock will see the value in this project and keep the real champion of Turlock’s water as its city’s leader: Mayor Gary Soiseth.
— Chris Vierra, Mayor of Ceres