Idyllwild Water District (IWD) Board of Directors met last week to select a replacement for the board vacancy left by Dave Hunt. General Manager Leo Havener discussed various items in his report and the board is reviewing its legal counsel.

Vacancy filled

Two Idyllwild Water District area residents, Rachel Teeguarden and Steve Olson, applied to fill the board vacancy left by Dave Hunt, who resigned before the last meeting.

“Thank you for the opportunity to serve my community that I love so much,” wrote Hunt in his resignation letter. “It has been a privilege and honor to volunteer my time. Over the past three years, I have tried my very best to help improve our water district by making informed decisions and suggesting ideas for continuous improvement. Along that bumpy path, I have continually felt like I was fighting a headwind and swimming against the current. IWD’s dismal response to the pandemic is just one example of that! So it is with a heavy heart, frustrated mind and weary soul that I am letting you know I am resigning from the Board of Directors effective immediately. I am sure that the Board will have no problem finding a replacement that will vote with the majority to keep the status quo and not think ‘outside the box’ for positive change. I wish you all the very best in protecting our precious water supply for our beautiful community in the difficult times ahead.”

The board, in a 4-0 vote, selected Olson.

“I wouldn’t have recruited Steve [Olson] if I had known you were applying,” Board President Dr. Charles Schelly told Teeguarden.

Olson, who is a certified public accountant, was the “former chief accounting officer of a publicly traded company and understands the responsibilities associated with being a member of a board of directors. Those responsibilities include making decisions about IWD business in good faith, with integrity and reasonable care and in IWD and its customer’s best interests. Ethical, independent behavior are hallmarks of being a certified public accountant.”

Teeguarden wrote in her letter to the board she has been a resident since 1999 and has been employed by Idyllwild Arts Academy (2000 to 2004, 2008 to 2016). She began working at Idyllwild Fire Protection District, where she is currently employed, as its administrative assistant in 2016. Her goals include ensuring that residents like her have a voice “and are fully informed about our local water agency, ensuring a safe and robust water supply, and ultimately keeping end user costs under control.” In her role at IFPD, she has obtained “knowledge of the Brown Act, CalPERS and the California Special Districts Association.”

General manager’s report

The district reported a 4% water loss for May. May’s revenues were $204,988 and expenses were $155,054.

The feasibility study for the wastewater treatment plant will be done this month.

Havener presented the cost for the various components of the Elk Lane Pipeline Project. Relining the existing pipeline is $300,000. Relocating the existing pipeline is $177,500 for the construction. Additional costs for relocating the pipeline is $50,000 and includes permits and inspection fees, engineering and land surveys, easement and other. The approximate cost to relocating the existing pipeline is $227,500 for the construction.

The district canceled its cleaning service for uniforms and purchased a washer and dryer. “Staff has been displeased with the cleaning service we have had for years,” said Havener.

The district is in search of seasonal employees.

Legal counsel

The board reviewed its legal counsel. Board Vice President Peter Szabadi told the newspaper the district received submittals from seven firms. The board will be reviewing them and holding a meeting in two weeks to discuss them and determine what the district will do.