Ron Korman, newly chosen FVWD director. Photo by J.P. Crumrine
Directors of the Fern Valley Water District approved a $1.7 million budget for 2013-14 and welcomed the return of former director Ron Korman.

Next year’s budget (fiscal year 2013-14, beginning July 1) includes a $1.1 million capital improvements program to continue pipeline replacement on Fern Valley Road. Consequently, the district will use about $625,000 of its reserves to balance the 2013-14 budget. The reserve balance falls to about $922,000.

Operating expenses are projected to decrease about $10,000 from the 2012-13 level of $652,000, which is $80,000 less than the budgeted amount. Most of the change is reduction in engineering expenses as the construction work actually began this month.

Revenue projections grow about $60,000 to $1.1 million. Nearly 85 percent of the additional revenue is projected growth in water sales. The district has projected an increase of $15,000 (3 percent) in property tax revenue.

The directors also had to make decisions to make regarding representation on the board. The first was appointing someone to replace former Director Diana Johnson who resigned last month. Secondly, they had to address a prospective vacancy on the board in December.

Former Director Korman was the only applicant to fill retired Johnson’s term, which expires in December 2015, and was chosen unanimously. He originally joined the FVWD board in 1998 and retired as president in December 2011.

The board also recommended that the county’s Board of Supervisors appoint Director James Rees to the third directorship up for election this year. The terms of Rees, President Charles Wix and Director Robert Krieger all expire this December. All filed for re-election; however, Rees’s paperwork did not arrive at the Registrar’s Office by the stipulated deadline. So while Wix and Krieger qualified for the ballot, Rees did not but no other candidates applied.

The Riverside County Registrar of Voters informed the FVWD board that a letter of recommendation for the third director’s seat would be the basis of the Board of Supervisor’s appointment to fill the third seat.

In water business, General Manager Steve Erler reported that groundwater well levels have been dropping this month. “Well levels are 1 to 9 feet lower compared to the same time as last year,” he told the board.

Consistent with the lack of rainfall, district wells supplied more than half of the water in May compared to 20 percent in April and 5.5 percent in May 2012.

Troubled Tank 11 is back in service, Erler announced. “It is currently at half capacity [1.5 million gallons]” he said. “No complaints yet.”