At its Oct. 21 meeting, the Idyllwild Water District board approved two major policy documents. First, the board approved a revised ordinance for water conservation measures. Later in the meeting, it approved a set of new policies for board action.
In financial matters, the board also accepted its 2014-15 audit from Rogers, Anderson, Malody & Scott of San Bernardino.
Ordinance 64, which replaces the November 2014 Ordinance 62, addresses the water conservation stages and their associated restrictions and implementation. The board held a public hearing on the ordinance and unanimously adopted it.
However, Director-elect Steve Kunkle did ask that it be deferred until he and Director-elect June Rockwell, took their seats in December. In response, President Jim Billman denied the request and said if the ordinance needed changes it could be amended by a future board.
One of the changes is clarifying that once IWD enters emergency water Stage 1, only 10 new equivalent dwelling units will be served during the extent of the water emergency, regardless of the conservation stage. This means the 10 EDUs, which may represent 10 or fewer will-serve letters, are cumulative from stages 1 through 3. Stage 2 reduces new EDUs to five if five or fewer had been issued during the prior Stage 1. Once it has approved five new EDUs, the district will not serve anymore will-serve letters until the water emergency has ended.
The ordinance lists the water restrictions associated with each conservation stage.
The ordinance also includes a section defining the types of violations during stages 2 or 3 and their associated penalty, such as fines or shut off. The first violation results in a notice. A second violation within a year can result in a “disincentive surcharge,” which amounts to a doubling of the water billing during the violation period.
A third violation within that year can result in a “disincentive surcharge” of three times the water billing during the violation period. In addition, the IWD general manager will install a water-flow restriction device on the customer’s water meter.
A fourth violation within the year will cause termination of water service at this premise and referral of the violation to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.
The board also adopted a policy resolution establishing guidelines for the appropriate behavior and decorum expected of board members during meetings, creating committees and compensating them for reimbursable expenses, such as travel.
IWD also received its audit for fiscal year 2014-15, which ended on June 30. Scott Manno of the accounting firm told the board the audit of IWD’s financial condition earned the firm’s “highest level of assurance.”
“You had a good year this year. Management did a good job,” he stated. “The first year without a loss in, I think, five years.” According to the audit, IWD ended the year with more than $2.9 million in cash or certificates and another $500,000 in restricted cash and investments. The district’s net position increased more than $600,000 in 2014-15.
Net revenue increased slightly more than $400,000, but water sales and wastewater fees were up $450,000. In addition, expenses declined $230,000 during 2014-15. Billman attributed some of these savings to previous changes in the employee benefit packages.
“Changes for new employees after January 2014 reduced cost from 21 percent to 10 percent,” he said.
Manno also recommended a capital development plan for the future, to which Director John Cook replied that it was being developed in the Finance Committee.
The district is still in water conservation Stage 2, according to Lynch, and still very close to Stage 3.
In September, IWD consumed 6.3 million gallons of water, which is about 1.1 million less than August and 2.6 million less than September 2013. During the first nine months of 2015, total production has been 57 million gallons, which is 8.8 million or 13.4 percent less than the same period in 2014.
The board did approve a grant request of $200,000 from Riverside County’s Community Development Block Grant funding. If approved, IWD will have to provide $400,000 in matching funds. The money will begin the replacement of 15,000 feet of water pipeline “that is deteriorated, at least 60 years old and has been prone to several water leaks,” according to Lynch. The whole project will take several years.