Richard Schnetzer, new Fern Valley Water District director. Photo by J.P. Crumrine


Richard Schnetzer will be the next Fern Valley Water District director. The board selected Schnetzer last week to fill the vacant seat due to Ron Korman’s June resignation.

In September, the board established a committee to review the applications from Schnetzer and Chad Taylor. At Friday’s meeting, Wix told his colleagues, “I think we have two qualified candidates who applied for the seat. The committee met after listening to them at the last meeting and reading their letters. We decided Richard was the better of the candidates for the purpose and who we recommend.”

Vice President Jim Rees also echoed the view that both men were well qualified and the board had good choices.

After Schnetzer’s selection, which was unanimous, he began his term Friday afternoon when Office Manager Jessica Priefer swore him into office. The term ends in December 2015. He is the third person to serve this term. In August 2011, Director Diana Johnson was re-elected to her fifth term. She resigned in May 2013 and Korman was appointed to replace her in June 2013.

Schnetzer and his wife, Patricia, were part-time Fern Valley residents until January 2012 when they became full-time. For nearly 50 years, Schnetzer has worked in special education for children, youth and adults with disabilities. During this time, he has served as a teacher, administrator, and board member of schools and agencies serving these individuals.

He currently works with the California Association of Private Special Education Schools.

President Robert Krieger told Taylor he would have other opportunities to serve in the future. Taylor and his wife also are recent additions to the Fern Valley community. They moved to Idyllwild from Long Beach. He said has worked for large corporations and owned his own business. Currently, he is semi-retired.

In water business, General Manager Steve Erler said the removal of tank 5 is completed and the work on the tank farm manifold project is underway. The district is extending 12-inch pipeline installed along Fern Valley Road to its tank farm.

In response to a question about moving to Stage 2 Water Emergency from the district’s current status of Stage 1, Erler replied, “I don’t foresee it any time soon … For the year, I don’t anticipate any problems. For next year, I’m hoping for some moisture.”

He stressed that the district’s wells have been working wonderfully and he hasn’t observed any drop in capacity despite lower groundwater well levels currently compared to last year’s levels.

The district’s wells have been the major source of water since the drought has reduced stream flow through the district. September’s water production relied much more on ground water than in 2013 and in the past. The portion of water supply from the district’s wells was slightly more than 70 percent last month compared to 60 percent in August and 40 percent a year ago.