Why I am Seeking Re-Election to Montecito Sanitary District Board

By Bob Williams   |   October 18, 2018

When my wife, Carolyn, and I moved to Montecito, a primary goal of ours was to volunteer and give back to the community. We have since given of our time to local nonprofits and community organizations supporting the community of Montecito. When told of an opening on the Montecito Sanitary District Board, I expressed that my education, experience, and accomplishments would be an ideal fit for that position.

During my 35-plus-year career, I directed the design, construction, and implementation of utility infrastructure, including recycled water on projects in major cities in the U.S. My longest involvement was in Orange County where recycled water was used extensively for golf courses, ball fields, school playgrounds, and parkways.

I have a Bachelor of Science degree from Lehigh University followed by service in the Army Corps of Engineers as an officer in Viet Nam. Prior to moving to Montecito, I was chairman of the Sonoma County Planning Commission.

On Tuesday, November 6, voters in the community of Montecito will be making a choice for board members on the Montecito Sanitary District. This is an important election, because Montecito deserves committed board members who will serve the agency and its mission for the benefit of the community. I have been a board member of the Montecito Sanitary District since 2014. Our mission as a board is to set policy in order that the District can provide the residents of Montecito with a community service to protect public health and to preserve the natural environment through the collection, treatment and disposal of wastewater in the most cost-effective way possible.

The treatment and disposal processes must meet all regulatory requirements directed by local, state, and federal agencies. As a member of the District’s Administration and Operations Committee, I was able to report to the board that the District has maintained an exceptional record of zero sanitary sewer overflows, increased system reliability, and optimized service efficiency of all collection and treatment system components through continued systematic assessment and maintenance. The treated water meets the highest standards of quality as evaluated by these state and federal regulatory agencies. 

My activities on this committee have helped the board plan for the District’s future facility rehabilitation and replacement. That plan has a provision for the future production of recycled water. We use sophisticated technologies to prioritize and make repairs on the entire collection and treatment systems. The District continues to provide additions to its 75 miles of collection pipe. New mainline pipe has been scheduled to be constructed on Olive Road and Romero Canyon in order to replace aging septic systems. The District will provide reimbursement up to $2,000 to homeowners for the replacement or repair of private sewer laterals.

As a member of the District’s Finance Committee, I reported to the board on the status of the necessary financing to ensure the District would have the funds necessary to complete a list of capital projects deemed to be mission-critical to the District’s efforts to provide the kind of service expected by the community and mandated by federal and state regulations. These funds were used for capital replacement/improvement projects including new laboratory and maintenance buildings, more than 25 miles of sewer main rehabilitation and lining, lift station refurbishment, and a new sewer force main. 

While on this committee, I encouraged the board to analyze the opportunity for refunding the existing bonded indebtedness. The analysis showed that the District could decrease the maturity term by seven years, remove the requirement for a reserve fund, and take advantage of lower interest rates. The board’s decision to proceed with this refunding is resulting in savings of approximately $4 million. The District’s current Standard & Poor’s rating is AA+.

When the community was faced with the disastrous events of the Thomas Fire and the Montecito debris flow, I joined with the board to immediately authorize emergency repair funds and to coordinate with first responders. When access was granted, the District moved swiftly to correct the damages by completing permanent repairs, as well as making provisions that would prevent service disruptions in the event of future weather occurrences. FEMA and insurance coverages will result in the recovery of more than 80 percent of the funds expended on the damage repair.

I consider my activities on the Montecito Sanitary District to be a significant contribution to the community. My active involvement in making the recommendations and suggestions that resulted in board policies and decisions has directly benefited Montecito. I believe my continued service on this board will further the communication with the Water District as it moves toward identifying a project for recycled water. 

I have the commitment, experience, and accomplishments to be a benefit to the community as a returning member of the Montecito Sanitary District Board.

I would appreciate your vote in this regard.


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