Although the board of the Idyllwild Water District approved annual resolutions establishing restricted funds for the water and sewer districts, decisions on major items, such as the draft ordinance for mandatory recycled water use and the application process for will-serve letters for new construction were deferred to future meetings.

The lack of decisions does not mean the board made no progress on these issues.

The district’s recycled water consultant, Anders Wistrom, attended and spoke to the board about the need for an official policy.

“It’s the only way the district can balance its investments in the project and have customers understand its need and that the policy is in line with state guidelines,” he said.

Recycling water is another option to supplement the district’s ground water supplies, Wistrom told the board. Its availability can reduce the demand on potable water while continuing to provide water for irrigation and other nonconsumption uses.

The draft policy statement reads, “… it is the intent of the district that recycled water shall be used within its service area wherever such use is economically justified, financially and technically feasible and is not detrimental to public health, safety, and welfare, and the environment.”

Some of the related topics that the board discussed included how to help customers finance their investments in needed recycled water equipment, whether Southern California Edison might offer incentives for use of recycled water, the priority of Idyllwild customers to available recycled water and whether additional staff will be needed to implement the program.

The board agreed to return the draft ordinance to its Recycled Water Committee, composed of board President Allan Morphett and Director Mike Freitas. A public announcement will be prepared and published before the board is ready to decide on the ordinance’s approval.

The board also considered a revision to its will-serve letter application process. The District’s Regulations and Rules Committee recommended requesting and collecting additional information from future applicants. This policy was also returned to the originating committee for changes and is to be returned for approval at a future meeting.

Director John Cook thought the revised policy was much improved and would help the district assure the availability of water to serve a future property.

(Click here for a story about the Riverside County Planning hearing on the proposed revision to the Idyllwild Arts Master Plan.)

The board also discussed a letter from Steve Kunkle, IWD Sewer Department chief operator, who asked several questions about how the prospective changes to the retirement and health benefits policies might affect him in the future.

“I know things can change, but it’s hard to plan for retirement,” he said.

Following Kunkle’s request, Cook agreed that the board needs to resolve the issues and eliminate uncertainty for current employees.

In financial news, new Financial Auditor Hosny Shouman reported the tentative end of fiscal year 2012 financial results. Although water fund operating revenues were nearly $200,000 less than the revenues, nonoperating revenues (primarily property taxes) of about $240,000 yielded a positive net income balance of $40,000 for the year.

The sewer fund result was very similar. The net income for the fiscal year ending June 30 was slightly more than $44,000, according to Shouman.

In water business, General Manager Terry Lyons reported that water conditions remain satisfactory. “Foster Lake is down a little compared to previous years and downtown wells dropped a little, but they are a good indicator that the ground water level is moving,” he said.

The groundwater level for most of the district’s wells has remained constant for the past four months.