TCSD candidate Wayne Petersen
Editor’s note: Candidates for a seat on the Templeton Community Services District (TCSD) were each asked the same set of questions in a timed interview. The questions cover the five main services under the TCSD umbrella (water, wastewater/sewer, solid waste, emergency services/Fire Department, Parks & Recreation), and included questions regarding Board policy and the current state of TCSD.
Wayne Petersen characterizes himself as a husband, father, and grandfather. He and his wife Marcea have owned a home in Templeton for the past 14 year.
Petersen currently serves as the President of the Templeton Community Library Association, the President of the Templeton Unified School District Measure H-12 School Bond Community Oversight Committee, and is a Board member of Vineyard Oaks Homeowners Association.
Templeton’s Fire Department (TFD) is under the TCSD umbrella of services. The Board of Directors oversees the Fire Department through both policy and budgetary considerations. As a department head, the Fire Chief answers directly to the General Manager. Funding for TFD comes from a small portion of local property taxes ($658,800 in the current budget), supplemented by occasional grants.
(a) What do you feel are the top 3 issues currently facing Templeton’s Fire Department, and if elected, how would you work to solve these issues?
• (1) Develop a plan to implement, i.e. keep current model hire a fire chief; (2) Put an assessment before the voters to raise funds; (3) Merge with a north county fire service or Cal Fire. How I would help solve the issues will be answered in b, c, and d.
(b) If the challenges can’t be overcome, would you support folding TFD into another fire service like CAL FIRE or perhaps a regional north county service? If yes, which of these options would you choose and why? If no, why not?
• This is not a yes or no question. The only options are our current model which everyone agrees is not sustainable or go with Cal Fire which would only move one engine from one location to another and in my opinion would decrease service to Templeton. These are the only options under our current funding. Any other options will require additional funding.
(c) What would be the pros and the cons for the town of Templeton if TFD was folded into another fire service?
• I want Templeton to maintain its autonomy with our own Fire Department or possibly form a north county fire department. I will work toward determining the costs and what is the best fix for the Community in quality. Any change other than the two above will require additional funds in the form of an assessment.
(d) Would you support a “fire fee” / assessment on local property owners to raise funds to support Templeton’s Fire Department?
• Yes. I believe the CSD Board should allow the voters to decide.
Historically, the Board of Directors has made many decisions through the lens of a policy that stated, “All new development will pay its own way.” This policy was regularly followed by previous boards since the founding of TCSD in 1976, and was implemented with the belief that current rate payers for water, wastewater, etc., should not have to pay for new resources or infrastructure needed for new development. But recently, some have questioned whether or not the policy should be changed.
(a) Do you support the current policy that states that new development will pay its own way, or do you believe current rate payers should foot part of the bill for additional resources and infrastructure needed to produce that development?
• I support the concept and will work to maintain the current policy.
• Again I am in favor of the policy if the costs are incurred only because of the new building. I don’t believe it is fair for current residents and business to pay for new infrastructure or resources needed for new development.
The town of Templeton currently has a dual wastewater collection and treatment system. In general, flows from the east side of Hwy 101 are collected and sent to Paso Robles for treatment, and wastewater from the west side of the freeway is collected and treated at Templeton’s Meadowbrook Wastewater Treatment Plant. Currently, TCSD is laying the groundwork to collect and treat all wastewater produced by Templeton internally at Meadowbrook – when and if, the Board of Directors chooses to do so.
(a) What are the pros and cons of bringing wastewater flows currently sent to Paso Robles back to Templeton?
• The pros are we control the process and do not have to rely on Paso. We would have additional water if we processed our own waste water. The cons would be Paso is responsible for the maintenance
(b) If elected, which option would you choose to support?
• I would support what was the most cost effective for Templeton, which I would have to study staff recommendations.
• I would again have to study staff recommendation and study the options.
(d) If the flows are brought back to Templeton, who should pay for it and how should it be paid for?
• I would have to study the options
The town of Templeton is facing a number of water issues now and in the near future.
(a) What do you feel are the top 5 issues and how would you prioritize them (most urgent to least urgent)?
• Nacimiento intake
• Increasing our water treatment process
• Acquiring additional water
• Water conservation
• Maintenance of current infrastructure
• Controlling the sale of will serves;
(b) If elected, how would you work to solve these issues?
• I would need more information, but I would like to control ALL our waste water if we can afford it.
In 1999, the Board of Supervisors adopted a new solid waste franchise agreement that raised single can rates in Templeton as much as 70 percent over the previous rates. As a result, a number of residents petitioned TCSD to take over solid waste services, believing that Templeton could do a much better job than the County. Through agreements with Mid-State Solid Waste and Recycling, Templeton currently has some of the lowest solid waste rates in the county in conjunction with excellence in service, community participation, and leadership in innovation.
(a) Do you agree with this characterization of TCSD’s Solid Waste management thru Mid-State Solid Waste & Recycling? (yes or no)
• (a and b) We have had excellent service and low rates.
(c) If elected, what changes to Solid Waste services or the franchise agreement would you like to see addressed?
• I would have to review the current contract
PARKS AND RECREATION
The fifth department under the TCSD umbrella is Templeton Parks & Recreation which is primarily supported by a small fraction of local taxes ($237,900 in this year’s Rec Department budget) in addition to participation fees for youth sports and sports events, sponsorships for events and youth sports teams, and fees for parks and facilities rentals. In addition to youth sports and events like Summer Concerts in the Park, Templeton Rec also oversees Evers Sports Park, Templeton Skate Park, the Community Garden, Tom Jermin, Sr. Park (formally Bethel Park) and the Templeton Community Center. The budget must cover the Rec department employee’s salaries and benefits, the care and upkeep of the parks and facilities, and all programs (youth sports and events).
(a) What, in your opinion, are the greatest challenges facing Templeton Recreation today?
• Infrastructure and funding
(b) The current Board of Directors has asked staff to jettison any recreation program or event that doesn’t pay its own way – including staff time (salaries). As a result, two long-standing traditions in Templeton have been cut from the Recreation Department. Both the Templeton Easter Egg Hunt and the Halloween Party for Templeton’s youngest “trick-or-treaters” at the Fire Station have been done away with this year. Do you agree with this budgetary decision / perspective? Why or why not?
• I would like to provide funds to the department to continue these activities, but there is on so much funding available.
(c) If elected, how would you work to help solve the challenges you believe are facing the Recreation Department?
• I would attempt to raise more funds for the Rec. department
STATE OF THE DISTRICT
The 2012-13 San Luis Obispo County Grand Jury published an in depth report in 2013 titled “Trouble in Templeton’s Community Services District” regarding the state of TCSD and a number of serious challenges then facing the district. The following year, the 2013-14 Grand Jury published a follow up report titled “Responding to Recommendations”, in part to see if TCSD had improved. “While progress has been made and the district has been characterized as now being on a positive, upward trajectory, there is still work to be done,” said Soaring Eagle Press Editor Nanette Fisher in an assessment of the District following the publication of the second Grand Jury report.
(a) Do you agree with this assessment? (yes or no)
(b) What challenges do you feel still need to be addressed?
• Work on an overall master plan to address the major concerns with timelines. Many of which are in process
(c) If elected, how would you work with both staff and your fellow Directors to tackle any challenges you feel still need to be attended to?
• Communications with staff and the public
ANY FINAL THOUGHTS?
• I will listen, share ideas and opinions, study the issues and always be prepared. Be professional, and demonstrate by example a strong work ethic.
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