By Jonathan Goetz
Photos (L – R): McMillan, Scalzitti & Gracyk (source: Helix Water District)
November 9, 2020 (La Mesa) – Directors Dan McMillan, Joel Scalzitti and Mark Gracyk will all return to the Helix Water District Board, after voters rewarded the incumbents for delaying rate increases due to COVID-19, when many ratepayers are struggling financially. Instead, Helix is dipping into its reserves.
McMillan defeated Doug Sterling with 75% of the vote. Scalzitti took 57% of the vote in a four-candidate race, topping Vickie Knight Butcher who got 27%, Lu Tejeda 12%, and Tyler Logan 4%. Gracyk ran unopposed.
Rate increases are attributable to two main factors. First, the Metropolitan Water District, which provides Helix with much of its water at wholesale rates, continues increasing the price of water year after year. Second, as customers conserve more and more water, Helix loses revenue, and finds it more difficult to cover fixed expenses. So future rate hikes are likely inevitable, but for 2020, residents and businesses got a break on their water bills.
There are 64,000 ballots left to be tallied countywide out of 1,572,972 ballots cast, but the incumbents’ large leads after the vast majority of ballots have been tallied assures their victories.
Division 1, where McMillan won re-election, is primarily El Cajon north of I-8. Division 3, with Gracyk, consists of La Mesa, Lemon Grove and Spring Valley. Division 5, with Scalzitti, covers the eastern portion of the Helix Water District, including portions of El Cajon, Granite Hills, Bostonia and Lakeside.