Miles of neglected, substandard, bad, old pipe; a district pipe-replacement crew the manager doesn’t trust to replace pipe in a reasonable time frame, hence outsourcing expensive district projects; difficulty retaining highly qualified employees; a substandard employee payroll/retirement plan inconsistent with surrounding district plans; and  an overdependence on unreliable surface water availability for diversion creates a recipe for disaster and, more importantly, outrageous rate increases disproportionate to other mountain districts.

Is Idyllwild Water District knee-jerk reacting to a grand jury that recently showed up? What can be said is that the district is passing off  neglect/negligence to customers when it should be immunizing itself to further fee increases, while stabilizing district operations.

IWD should offer competitive salaries and benefits packages so as to retain highly qualified certified welders and water-treatment operators, avoiding having to pay prevailing wages on outsourced projects, replace its own pipe and build out its ground water production system such that its costs are similar to those of surrounding districts.

The savings alone would pay for employee benefits and salaries, and most importantly, keep rates down.

Wake up Idyllwild. Throw the bums out, including their manager and engineer, who threw away hundreds of thousands of dollars on a wasted boondoggle project that enriched the pockets of those who knew the project would not work, and replace them with people who get it.

Jeff Smith

Pine Cove