Fern Valley Water District directors are considering a rebate program on rain capture barrels and formed an ad hoc committee of directors Walt Bonneau and Jon Brown to refine a proposal Bonneau submitted to the board at Friday’s meeting into a policy.
The directors’ primary concern on the program is reducing the district’s potential for liability. They do not want any FVWD staff involved in hooking up the barrels (or tanks) or involved in “inspecting” the customers’ hook-ups. In the discussion, Brown advised that the term “verification” be used instead of “inspection” for a customer to be qualified for a rebate.
The proposed rebate is from $50 to $125 to any FVWD homeowner who purchases a rain barrel for “their existing or newly added rain gutter system while the allocated funds last.” President Richard Schnetzer asked that the committee present the policy to the board at its Nov. 19 meeting for a vote.
Income for the first quarter of fiscal year 2021-22 was about $351,000 while expenses were more than $435,000. The FY budget is $1,728,550 in income and $1,169,229 in expenses. The budget includes $750,000 in tax income that will not be received from the county until December.
The directors also briefly discussed reducing its Edison bill of about $5,300 a month by installing solar. General Manager Victor Jimenez is working with Solartech in San Diego on a bid.
Jimenez told the board that FVWD went into Stage 3 effective Sept. 20. Schnetzer asked if the district is using any surface water (creeks). Jimenez said it was a minimal amount.
The district is primarily using its wells now, 92% in September. In September 2020, using wells was occurred only 28% of the time yet water usage was higher.
Precipitation this fiscal year (beginning July 1) has only been 3.78 inches compared to 9 inches last year.
Directors have been interested in overdue water bills so Assistant Manager Jessica Priefer presented a delinquency update. About 60 customers are overdue, 10 at more than three months. Those 10 owe more than $7,000. The 17 customers at two months or more delinquent owe about $1,500 and the 43 more than a month overdue owe more than $4,500.
She said all she can do is put a lien on the property, get it notarized and filed with Riverside County. The water also gets disconnected, and a reconnection fee costs $60.
None of the overdue amounts include interest so Schnetzer asked her to talk to the district’s attorney about whether that is legal to do.
Director Robert Krieger asked that Jimenez do a study on reevaluating the schedule for replacing pipelines vs. replacing them on an emergency basis.
Jimenez recommended an ad hoc planning committee to look at the next 10 years of capital improvements by age.
He also told the board that he has a personal commitment the week of the next meeting and will not be able to attend. The directors decided to meet anyway to fulfill a resolution they passed at Friday’s meeting regarding AB 361, a Brown Act amendment that allows for teleconferencing and virtual meetings during COVID. The amendment is temporary and the directors plan to pass a resolution at each meeting allowing the virtual meetings. Pine Cove Water District also continues to meet virtually.
At that short meeting, the FVWD board also will vote on the rain barrel rebate policy and Schnetzer will make appointments to committees.