Brickle Environmental oversaw the handling of hazardous materials as Fern Valley Water had Tank no. 5 razed last week. Photo by Steve Erler
Brickle Environmental oversaw the handling of hazardous materials as Fern Valley Water had Tank no. 5 razed last week.
Photo by Steve Erler

Three Fern Valley residents offered to fill former Director Ron Korman’s seat on the water district’s board, last Friday, but before the meeting ended, the choice was narrowed to two. The board agreed to form a committee to recommend a new director. Korman resigned in June.

Gary Parton, Richard Schnetzer and Chad Taylor attended Friday’s meeting to indicate their tentative interest in filling the vacant position. After learning that two other people were interested, Parton withdrew from consideration.

“As long as there are good people interested in assuming this responsibility, I’m happy to withdraw,” he told the board.

Schnetzer said he and his wife have owned property in the district since 2005 and have been full-time residents since 2012. He has been a teacher administrator and board member for various school and agencies serving the needs of individuals with disabilities.

Schnetzer offered a summary of his background and the reason why he wants to serve on the FVWD board.

“I’ve been on many boards; most have to do with education. I’ve been president of a number of boards,” he said. “As a full-time resident, I’m ready to be involved with community service. The water board interests me since water has become the gold of this century.”

The third interested person was Taylor, who also attended the August board meeting.

He and his wife moved to Idyllwild from Long Beach. He said he has worked for large corporations and owned his own business. Currently, he is semi-retired.

His experience with large organizations and their red tape helped him develop more efficient work skills for his own business. Taylor feels he can bring that and his economic background to the board’s decisions.

“Next to air, water is our most important substance. It’s time to be really agile with water uses,” he said.

In his letter to the board, Taylor wrote, “All aspects [of the water district] are important: capture, storage, delivery, future concerns, costs and a goal of providing our customers with FVWD goals and how they are an important part of reaching those goals.”

Board President Robert Krieger joined the meeting via telephone and suggested the committee, composed of Directors Trisha Clark and Charlie Wix, develop a recommendation for Korman’s replacement for the October or November meeting. Board Vice President James Rees conducted the meeting in Krieger’s absence. After each person spoke, he said, “I think both are very qualified and we’ll have a tough decision to make.”

The board also approved the audit, which the accounting firm of Teaman, Ramirez and Smith prepared.

In water business, General Manager Steve Erler reported that for the first eight months of 2014, Fern Valley customers have used 23 million gallons of water, which is 4 million gallons (or more than 20 percent) less than the same period last year.

This is the lowest water usage for this period in more than 12 years.

“Fern Valley constituents are doing their part conserving water, but it did hurt our finances,” Erler said. “The district was easily meeting its current water demands.”

Revenues for the current billing period were 24 percent less than in 2013.

In other water business, Erler reported that tank no. 5, a 420,000-gallon storage facility, which was 50 years old and out of service for longer than year, has been razed. It had deteriorated over time until leaks began along some of its seams, according to Krieger.

“It was located between two other tanks and the company was very careful dismantling it,” Erler said. “They mitigated the lead and hazardous material in bringing it down. We might replace it several years down the road.”