Oak Hill Cemetery facing steep water rate increase

In November 2017 Oak Hill Cemetery received a letter from Santa Ynez Water District ID1 informing us that they would no longer honor our ag water designation that had been grandfathered into the cemetery operation for nearly 100 years.

Effective Jan. 1, our water usage rate would be raised by 560 percent. Our meter charge would also go up from $289 to $797 per month. After meeting with the ID1 Water Board, it became clear that there would be no reconsideration or special exemption granted to the cemetery. (However, they did grant us a one month grace period to make the new rates effective in February).

Fortunately, in anticipation of the water rate increase, the Oak Hill Cemetery board of trustees voted to pursue the installation of a well. After careful planning and budgeting, we acquired the necessary county permits and began drilling in late January. After striking a good water deposit on Feb. 7, we are now waiting on PG&E for the electrical pump meter installation. Our January 2018 water bill was $946. Our February water bill went up to $5,213, even though we had substantially cut back our watering.

The cemetery cannot afford the cost of ID1 water, so we have shut down the irrigation system perhaps until May or June until the well is online. In the meantime, we ask for your patience and understanding.

The total cost for the well will probably exceed $100,000. A "Friends of Oak Hill Cemetery" nonprofit charity is being set up to help us through this difficult time. We ask for the community's support. Please contact Allan Jones at 805-688-5717, get information at the cemetery, or call us at 805-688-4035. 

David Jakkola

District Manager

Oak Hill Cemetery

If you have time, a foster child needs you

I have been a volunteer CASA advocate for foster children in Santa Barbara County since 2010. For people who want to make a big difference in the life of a foster child, but lack the time to become a foster parent, there is an option of becoming a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA).

CASA volunteers are everyday people who do extraordinary work choosing to speak up for a child in the foster care system. They are specially trained and appointed by the juvenile court judge to speak up for one child or a sibling group, making certain that the child is physically safe, receiving appropriate support services, and ensuring that the child's voice is heard.

These children need someone who will stay by their side and speak up for their best interests during this difficult time in their life. By acting as the eyes and ears for the juvenile court and providing key insight on the unique needs of the child they serve, CASA advocates are actively part of the solution.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention month, and we need people like you to step up and volunteer because in Santa Barbara County there are still about 30 foster children who do not have a CASA advocate to help. View our CASA web page at sbcasa.org or phone Crystal Sullins at 739-9102 ext. 2594. The next advocate training classes begin April 30.

Frank Ritenour

Santa Maria

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