Pine Cove Water adopts revised water rules

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The Pine Cove Water District is offering free water conservation kits to its customers.
Photo by JP Crumrine

New ordinance replaces 1957 version

More than a year later, the revision of Pine Cove Water District’s original water policy ordinance has been completed and accepted. At the May 10 meeting, Ordinance 9, a new set of rules and regulations for setting water policies, was unanimously approved and replaces Ordinance 4, originally adopted March 16, 1957.

The major change is an expansion of the section and rules regarding cross-connections, which water districts limit and monitor to prevent private water sources from polluting the public system.

“There have been a lot of new state laws and this updates our backflow requirements,” General Manager Jerry Holldber told the board in response to a question from Director Lou Padula. “It also spells out the methodology for how we will set water charges, which will be done through resolutions.”

The regulation for cross-connections will require periodic inspections. Later, Padula asked who would pay for these inspections. “The customer,” replied Holldber. “However, there will be some costs for the water district, but I can’t estimate them yet.”

Customer inspections will only be needed for properties with private wells that have a potential to get into the water system, not all water customers, he stressed.

Director Vicki Jakubac asked about the section that discusses properties with multiple housing units, to which Holldber explained that there may be just one meter for the property, but each additional unit may affect the rates to be set by a board resolution.

Holldber also confirmed that there was no change to the policy of dealing with a catastrophic bill. “There is no forgiveness. By law we can give them up to 12 months to pay the bill, as long as the current charges are being paid.”

Pine Cove resident Marge Muir did request an estimate of the cost to develop Ordinance 9. “I’d like to find out what the document cost,” she said.

The board also reviewed the draft budget, which Holldber proposes, for the fiscal year 2017-18, which begins July 1. The new budget will be $900,000, a $50,000 increase over the current year.

The growth in revenue comes for anticipated water sales revenue, increased lease rates for Rocky Point customers and selling new water meters.

Salaries and benefits increase $25,000. This is a combination of the second field staff member, who was hired this year, being on board for the entire fiscal year and a proposed salary increase of 3 percent, for $14,000 for salaries.

The investment in improvements increases $50,000, the largest increase. This is primarily for materials, such as pipeline, for the south-central Pine Cove project, which Holldber said would require several years to complete.

The final payment for the tractor, bought in 2014, was made this fiscal year, which reduces expenses about $27,500 going forward, for a net increase of $50,000 for the entire fiscal year.

The current fiscal year is doing well, Holldber told the board. The cash balance of $280,000 is nearing a high.

Water production in April was about 2.9 million gallons, about 300,000 gallons more than March and 750,000 gallons more than April 2016. For the first four months of 2017, total production has been 9.9 million gallons, which is 1.6 million more than the same period last year.

Besides moving to Stage 1 water conservation, Holldber attributed a portion of the increased production to “some leaks.”

The winter precipitation is beginning to be seen in PCWD’s wells, he said. The groundwater level of the monitoring well, no. 10, rose 9 feet in April, to 134 feet, the highest it has been since October 2015.

“I don’t know what it will do every month, but I expect another 30- to 40-foot increase over the summer,” he told the board.

At the June board meeting, the directors will hold a hearing on the standby fees and approve the 2017-18 budget.

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