First, I appreciate the Idyllwild Town Crier for publishing this article under its frequent, yet underutilized, “Another Point of View” banner. This is my individual response and does not represent an opinion approved by the full board nor the general manager at the Idyllwild Water District.
The office of IWD board president is a humbling privilege and an honor that I try to fulfill with openness and a thoughtful disposition without sacrificing my normally cheerful nature.
I enjoy the members of the public who attend our meetings. Their ideas and concerns provide input that otherwise might not be considered in the deliberative process.
It is my steadfast belief we have the most open deliberative process of any legislative body in the great state of California. Occasionally, other agencies’ policies, procedures and costs are proffered during public comments. While similar to ours, often they cannot be duplicated at IWD due to differences in personnel, resources, divergent customer base and regulatory compliance.
And it is, of course, impossible to change the history of the district, especially as a board member with just one year of tenure. As we move forward into 2018, we have begun a process of setting priorities, upgrading and replacing aged infrastructure. There have already been numerous improvements to office computers, software capabilities, billing procedure, website and clerical procedures. These office improvements allow us to prepare all necessary documentation to more efficiently bring our water and wastewater projects to fruition efficaciously.
Our employees are supported as they strive to receive college-level educational training to improve their skills and abilities to better serve IWD now and in the future. Our employee satisfaction in their employment is up and attrition has disappeared in the last year.
The public workshops held in 2017 have provided valuable input to our board. We will continue to listen and improve from comments made by those who attend our meetings.
Many recent improvements made in our neighboring districts had been in the preparation and planning stages for several years. We are in the process of approving short- and long-range plans that will address several identified deficiencies at IWD.
In 2017, we conducted extensive studies of our district water delivery and sewer systems. Much of the data culled from those studies will be utilized in the coming years as we develop substantial improvement projects for our district (including, but not limited to miles of water pipe upgrades and replacement, sewer treatment plant upgrade and replacement, hydrant upgrades and replacement).
We cannot change reports done years and decades before we came into office, but we have begun the process of significant change. As part of that change, we will continue to collaborate with neighboring agencies to improve shared community goals in a positive, synergistic model.
The Insurance Services Offices’ “2” rating is an amazing achievement for Idyllwild and, specifically, the Idyllwild Fire Protection District. We are glad to have been able to provide some of the necessary capacities required for this exceptional rating.
I’m surprised that anyone would minimize its significance. There is not a more recognized independent world class qualified authority than ISO. A “2” rating is the second-highest possible and takes into account multiple measured factors. It signifies readiness and capabilities.
I encourage the members of IWD to be assured that a professional authority has given a qualified, unbiased opinion. Actuaries, accountants, and home and fire insurance companies consider their opinion as the gold standard.
IWD will improve in transparency, efficiency and stability. We will use all constructive criticism from any and all who care for our idyllic community. This valuable information will be integrated into our reinvigorated efforts to provide reliable water and sewer service in a safe, cost-effective and environmentally sound manner in accordance with the community needs.
Charles Schelly, DC, BS, AA, NRCME