Public apathy supported Idyllwild Water District directors’ decision to increase their compensation for attendance at last week’s meeting.

One person — Steve Moulton — attended the Oct. 16 public hearing on the proposed increase to $100 per board or committee meeting from the current rate of $50. The current rate has been in effect since the 1970s.

Directors offered several reasons in response to Moulton’s questions as to why the rate might double.

“Our infrastructure is about four times the size of the closest district and consequently we spend a lot of time ensuring the district’s success,” said Director James Billman. IWD has seven committees responsible for district oversight, more than any other local district. “The committee meetings directly relate to the development of policy and its implementation,” Billman emphasized.

President Warren Monroe offered the Employee Manual, of which was on the agenda later for approval, as an example of a project that consumed innumerable directors’ hours over a three- to four-year period.

The final vote was 3 to 1. Monroe voted no and Director John Cook was absent. The new compensation will not be effective for 60 days. Section 20201 limits the compensation to $100 per day regardless of the number of meetings. And Section 20202 limits the compensation to 10 days in any calendar month.

“As a manager, I’ve worked with many districts. This is the first board to go though the extensive training [provided by the California Special Districts Association] and has accomplished a lot because of its committee membership,” General Manager Terry Lyons said to Moulton.

“Some pay locks in a certain level of responsibility,” said Director Dean Lattin. “Without compensation, you could just walk away.”

In other business, the board approved adopting the Employee Manual and passed a formal resolution adopting the various employee benefits, such as health care, retirement and others.

“The employees are happy with it,” said Office Administrator Kelly Clark.

In water business, Lyons reported that Tollgate Road storage tank welding has begun. He expects construction to be completed this fall, but the internal and external painting will be delayed until warmer weather next spring, he told the board.

The Golden Rod storage tank, including painting, was completed this month. Time is needed for the paint to cure, he said, before it begins to be filled. Its acceptance into the district’s distribution system requires water quality testing approval from the state Department of Environmental Health.

Lyons also reported that he expects to have the Oakwood well integrated into the production system before 2014.

September production fell about 30,000 gallons from August and was 18,000 less than August 2012. For the year, IWD has produced 72.4 million gallons, 10.2 million (16 percent) more than the first nine months of 2012. This year will be the first time production has exceeded the previous year since 2009.

“The Foster Lake wells are still dropping, but the downtown wells are not too bad,” Lyons told the board. IWD is still in a Stage 2 water conservation emergency.

 

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