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EID's Safety Focus Saves Ratepayers Money
Contact: Mary Lynn Carlton, (530) 642-4103, firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Placerville, Calif. — On Monday, February 28, 2011, the El Dorado Irrigation District (District) Board of Directors received an overview of the District’s safety program. Statistics presented for 2009 and 2010 show significant progress has been made. The District has not experienced a lost-time injury since December 15, 2009—a total of 440 days. Injuries requiring medical attention are down 35% from 2009. Workers’ compensation premiums are at a 10-year low, resulting in a savings of approximately $1.5 million since 2003, according to Vicki Hoffman, EID’s human resources director. “These statistics are positive indicators of the success of the District’s ongoing training and safety efforts, which contribute to the containment of operating costs and workers’ compensation premium and translates into savings for ratepayers,” said EID General Manager Jim Abercrombie. “I’d like to congratulate all District employees who continue to be vigilant and work with a strong focus on safety.” EID Board President Harry Norris agreed, saying “This is a tremendous accomplishment for both management and staff alike and I believe they both deserve ample recognition for their achievements in this area.”
Board Renegotiates Weber Dam Advanced Funding Agreement
The Board also approved a new agreement to replace the Weber Advanced Funding Agreement (Weber AFA). Under the original Weber AFA, which was approved in 2000, the District received $4 million in private, non-reimbursable funding to repair Weber Dam. In exchange, the District granted ten-year contractual water service commitments to the funding parties (referred to as the “Interested Parties” in the agreement) and some other landowners from existing District resources.
Late last year, the Interested Parties requested—in light of the deep recession in the housing market—that the District extend the Weber AFA an additional ten years to allow them to fully exercise their contractual water service commitments. After negotiations, the Board and the Interested Parties reached a satisfactory agreement.
The new agreement will replace the Weber AFA. It will extend the Interested Parties’ unexercised water service commitments for 10 years and the associated $3,390-per-unit hookup fee discount for five years. The new agreement will also authorize the Interested Parties to transfer the Weber AFA service commitments amongst themselves and apply them to any property they own in the El Dorado Hills area. Additionally, the Board stipulated that the Interested Parties must use these entitlements first when purchasing new water service.
“The way I used to run my business was to be fair and I think we’ve reached a fair and reasonable compromise,” said EID Board President Harry Norris. “I don’t think we will see much improvement in the economy, particularly for commercial projects in the near term, so giving them a little more time to use these benefits is the right thing to do.”
Reapportionment Process Gets Underway
The Board approved a draft schedule of activities and assigned General Counsel Tom Cumpston as staff liaison and project manager for the process of reviewing and redrawing the divisions from which the District’s five Board members are elected. As part of its action, the Board authorized Cumpston to form an advisory committee and conduct proactive public outreach to help guide the redistricting effort.
The 2010 decennial census triggers a mandatory legal duty for the District to review its division boundaries and adjust them as necessary to ensure that its ratepayers continue to receive fair and equal representation. State law bars all changes of division boundaries within 180 days of a Board election. Because the federal government is not expected to release detailed census data for another month, and because the District wishes to involve the public via the advisory committee and public outreach meetings to solicit input, this state-law restriction makes it impossible to have the new boundaries drawn in time for the upcoming EID Board election on November 8, 2011. Therefore, the results will not apply to that election.
“This is a tough task,” said Albert Hazbun, a District customer who was in attendance at the Board meeting, adding that he thinks the District should not adopt new division boundaries until after the election so it does not become a political issue. Cumpston will provide regular updates at future Board meetings to inform the Board and the public of progress made. The draft schedule approved today projects the completion of the process in late August 2011.
In other business, the Board—
- Received a status report on the positive results achieved thus far for meeting the conditions of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance settlement agreement and a report on the 2010 sewer system overflows.
- Received an update on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) annual land-use fee litigation. FERC has issued a notice of inquiry to solicit input on what the proper fee methodology should be. Based upon the responses, FERC will choose a preferred methodology. This approach guarantees that in 2011, EID will continue to pay its annual fees at the lower 2008 rate, which will save our ratepayers approximately $220,000 in 2011, for a three-year total of $541,000. Additional savings may be seen if the rulemaking process extends into 2012.
- Authorized funding in the amount of $70,000 for the District’s capital improvement plan project Mother Lode Force Main Repairs.
EID is a public agency dedicated to providing high quality water, wastewater treatment, recycled water, hydropower, and recreation services in an environmentally and fiscally responsible manner.