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Misconduct Is Water Under the Bridge

August 24, 2003

Re "A Murky Side to Water Business," Aug. 3:

Past events at the Santa Margarita Water District resurfaced in this article.

The article mentioned that the misbehaviors occurred more than a decade ago under a board of directors that is no longer serving; I'd like to focus on how the district has since become an example in efficiency and quality service.

As the mayor of Rancho Santa Margarita, I have been impressed watching the district successfully serve a customer base that has nearly doubled since 1995.

Through this growth, the district has trimmed its employee base and has used technology and planning to reduce overhead.

As a result, the district has reduced rates and/or service charges seven times since 1996 and was one of the few districts not to raise rates as the recent energy crisis increased operational costs unexpectedly. That's uncommonly sound management.

Though the article may have caused some to question the public water district governance structure, those served by the Santa Margarita Water District can rest assured that it is doing an honorable and honest job providing our semi-arid region with much-needed water at a very reasonable cost.

Gary Thompson

Mayor,

Rancho Santa Margarita

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