In a brief meeting last Friday, the Fern Valley Water District board reviewed its fiscal 2015-16 budget and greeted Victor Jimenez, who will assume the general manager’s position at the end of June.
Operating expenses continue to be less than revenues collected. In the final quarter of the fiscal year, Jessica Priefer, office manager, said the final property tax payments from the county should arrive and the district has one more water-usage billing to collect.
Capital expenses represent the largest expenditure this year. The pipeline replacement work along San Jacinto, Lodge and Tahquitz roads was completed for about $670,000, which was 16 percent below the budgeted amount.
“Everything looks good,” commented President James Rees.
In other budget business, the board agreed with Director Trischa Clark’s recommendation that it was not necessary for FVWD to become an affiliate of the Idyllwild Association of Realtors. (IAR had sent a request to all three local water districts to join. Clark is a local real estate agent.)
Jimenez, who came from the City of El Monte, has begun ahead of current General Manager Steve Erler’s retirement. The time is allowing Jimenez to interact with Erler and explore the district to learn its operations and its nuances before Erler departs.
After meeting and interacting with the staff, Jimenez told the board, “[The employees] have an amazing work effort. They are very conscientious and want to do what’s best for the system.”
Both directors Clark and Robert Krieger said that they were “… glad Jimenez was on board and that the transition was developing well.”
In water business, Erler said the groundwater level of the wells was beginning to rise. Some of the groundwater levels were 12 feet above their level in March 2015.
Also, the district is diverting water from Strawberry and Tahquitz creeks. FVWD’s wells produced 9.9 percent of the water usage last month, which is about half of the March 2015 well production.