Five Golden Hills Comunity Services District board members facing recall petitions defended their integrity in written responses filed with the Kern County Registrar of Voters on Oct. 7.
A group of residents upset over the board's decision in June to assume authority for its solid waste handling -- currently provided by Tehachapi-based Benz Sanitation through a non-competitive bidding process employed by the county -- initiated the recall against board members who were served just minutes before the district's' regular board meeting on Sept. 19.
The recall petitions are published in the legal notice section of this week's paper, as required by law.
Board members had seven days to file an answer to the notice, and their responses are published here.
* Our Board consistently strives to serve in the best interest of our -constituents and to plan projects and to provide events which benefit our community.
* "2010 Vote" -- I was not a board member at that time, however I received that poll containing three informal questions asking if residents might be intersted in: 1) Septic system maintenance (at a monthly fee) 2) Trash hauling service (potentially serviced by GHCSD) 3) Consolidating the various sets of CC&Rs within Golden Hills.
Unfortunately, the "Trash-Hauling" concept at that time was misrepresented by opposition to be "mandatory" service (which it was not). Residents that I spoke with at that time resented only the concept of paying monthly septic maintenance fees. Lowering cost is a benefit. The "Trash Hauling" concept then was entirely different from today's current competitive RFP process.
* At its inception, the GHCSD was granted specific authority ("powers")by Kern County to operate their District's business. These "powers" included the right to develop and manage water supplies, drainage, liquid waste and solid waste. These "powers" have been in full force and have remained activr hroughout the GHCSD's operational timeline to this day.
1. I voted to initiate a competitive bid process to potentially establish a new contract for solid waste collection in Golden Hills. The vote was 5-0.
2. The CSD has the authority to pursue a new contract for solid waste collection. In 1966 Kern County Board of Supervisors granted GHCSD the power to manage solid waste and no government entity has ever revoked that power.
3. Resident suggestions as well as the 2010 opinion poll helped the GHCSD board and staff to design the criteria for this RFP.
4. The board hired a fInn to independently manage this process. More information is available at (hfh-consultants.com/GHCSD/)
5. The company awarded the contract will pay the cost of the consulting firm and competitive bid process.
6. I am committed to minimizing cost and ensuring high quality services.
7. In response to this RFP, Benz employees, their spouses, and possibly others fIled a Notice of Intention to Circulate Recall Petition to remove all GHCSD board members.
8. The Kern County Election Office will require GHCSD to pay the cost of a recall election.
9. I request your support, and will appreciate your vote should this recall go to election.
Eldwin E. Kennedy:
1. I have continually acted lawfully and in the best interest and trust of our community serving as board member, president and vice president during 10 of the last 12 years.
2. The referenced "vote" three years ago was an informal advisory poll with less than net 10 percent negative response, and subverted by a circulated letter with false statements. The current RFP contains a substantially different proposed service.
3. The opportunity for residents input was scheduled from the beginning of the process. They were informed by public newspaper, mailing and two regional informational workshops.
4. No decision has been made as to whether one or any competitive proposal will be selected. Should a proposal be selected, successful proposer will pay for the RFP process.
5. Golden Hills CSD was formed in 1966 with full active powers to service solid waste. These powers were never latent, a fact which was recently confirmed by LAFCO, after submitting accurate and complete documentation representing the District's actions and service.
6. Our thorough cost analyses, the approximately 30 percent cost difference between us and the adjoining city, and submitted vendor proposals, prove a significant cost savings potential to residents and valuable added benefits for our community.
Ernest (Bud) Sargent:
To those of you that know me, you know I am honest and only have the best interest of our residents at heart. I have been working hard to bring us such things as: The Red Apple Road connector, the Walking Trail, Beautifying the "Golden Hills/Old Town Monument" on Tehachapi Woodford Road and aiding our unfortunate residents in Highland Estates with their sewer issues. I spend at least 20 hours a month, working with the other board members and staff; to see that our water rates are as low as we can make them. It is not difficult to see through the ploy of these "Friends, employees and relatives of the Benz Corp." They are trying to prevent the Democratic Process of Allowing you to choose who you want to haul your trash. We, as The Board of Directors, have put the business of hauling trash up for competitive bids. This is the American way. Please, do not be confused by misleading statements. Attend our meetings, talk to the board members and decide if you are happy with having a monopoly dictate who you will have haul trash.
Laura Lynne Wyatt:
I was elected to the Golden Hills Community Services District Board of Directors in November 2010. I have been a Golden Hills resident since 1994. I work hard to represent the residents and I strive to exceed the expectations of my community. Every decision I make weighs heavily on the fact that it is the best I can do for the entire community. I take pride in being a very accessible board member by accepting many phone calls and always stopping to answer questions. Through a cost analysis, it was discovered that the current county contract hauler for solid waste collection in our community was charging more than similar areas. By conducting a competitive bid process, the goal is to discover the best value for the residents of Golden Hills. This might be a savings of just a few dollars, but for some, even a small savings can make a difference.