Officials from Idyllwild Arts (IA) attended the Idyllwild Water District (IWD) meeting to discuss the school’s future construction plans. While IA has not completed the county’s planning process, Jon Newman, IA’s dean of students, told the board that a “will serve” letter for the new health center should be submitted in early 2012.

The president’s and two faculty residences are still next in the school’s building priorities, according to Jon Twichell, IA’s Sustainability and Project Management consultant.

Also attending the session was Idyllwild Fire Chief Norm Walker, who assured the water board that the fire district was satisfied with water pressure available from the school’s hydrants.

To gain quicker approval at the county level, Newman and Twichell said the master plan has been split into short-term (10 years) and long-term (beyond 10 years) plans.

“We’re breaking the environmental assessment into two parts,” Twichell said. “In phase 2, no environmental or archeological resources will be examined until the projects are actually happening.”

Besides the previously mentioned projects, the short-term plan includes the construction of a concert theater. But Newman stressed this construction was dependent upon securing donations to fund the project.

Further, Newman emphasized that project cost and funding would include whatever special needs Riverside County, Idyllwild Fire or Idyllwild Water districts require. He used the widening of Lowman Lane to provide access for emergency vehicles, such as fire trucks, as an example of IA incorporating the costs of specific requirements into total project funding.

One of these requirements for contemplated construction might be a future water storage tank, according to Lyons. This will depend upon the school’s decision on whether it will want or need another water meter.

Twichell indicated that IA is evaluating a fire line meter or an onsite reservoir as alternatives to be used for emergencies as future development becomes firmer.

“We look forward to working with you. You’re a valuable part of the community,” Allan Morphett, IWD president, said as the discussion concluded. “And we have 1,600 other members, too.”

In other business, Lyons reported that the staff was still reviewing options for retiree health care and that it was too early to set a date for a workshop.

Auditor and Controller Jim Ludy presented the 2010-11 audit for the board’s acceptance. The San Bernardino firm, Rogers, Anderson, Malody and Scott, was the accounting firm. This was its first IWD audit.

They made several recommendations on internal controls, including segregation of duties. But the firm’s essential accounting finding opined, “... the basic financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of Idyllwild Water District at June 30, 2011 and the results of its operation and cash flows for the year then ended in conformity with accounting principles accepted in the U.S.”

For fiscal year 2010-11, IWD’s revenues grew almost $11,000 and expenses declined about $10,000, yet the net income was a negative $29,000.

After the first quarter of this fiscal year, Ludy reported that net income was almost $75,000. At the end of the first fiscal quarter a year ago, net income was less than $50,000. Ludy said this year residential water sales are ahead of budget projects, but commercial sales are slightly less. Revenue is up despite water production being down about 10 percent.

Lyons was happy with the current water levels, which he said were equal to the September 2010 levels, and he has been able to keep Foster Lake almost full this fall. The September usage (9.3 million gallons) was nearly 6.2 percent greater than a year ago, but the usage year-to-date (65.7 million gallons) is 2.2 percent less than the first nine months of 2010.