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Message from the GM: Transparency and Outreach Recognition Exemplifies EID Commitment
In December of 2018, two new EID board directors were sworn into service. Together, the five elected EID board directors take on the task of guiding policy and shaping priorities for EID’s diverse and far-reaching organization. It is an impactful responsibility that they have taken on and they do not take it lightly.
District management and staff welcome the new board members to an agency that has made verifiable strides to make EID more sustainable and resilient over the last decade.
EID’s outstanding debt has continued to trend downwards over this time, from almost $388 million in 2010 to nearly $301 million in 2019. While the trend continues downward, low interest long-term debt continues to be an important strategic funding source to pay for the expensive rehabilitation and reconstruction projects that keep our water, wastewater, and recycled water business lines in good working order. Not to mention our vital federally-licensed hydroelectric project that provides valuable and sustainable electricity and is also—and more importantly—the source for one third of our customers’ drinking water supply.
In 2019, the board and the ratepayers they represent will find an agency that has worked diligently to get us here. There are no hidden agendas, no hidden strategies, in the successes we’ve had to get to this moment.
EID was recently honored with its third “Transparency Certificate of Excellence” from the Special District Leadership Foundation. These awards, good for two-years, require transparent access to important documents and require us to meet increasingly stringent rules about the District’s communications with our ratepayers—most of this information is located on EID’s website at www.eid.org. We will reapply in two years because we are proud to showcase our transparency and we take immense pride in continuing to make the workings of our agency open, honest, and crystal clear.
In 2018, EID acted urgently on behalf of its ratepayers and community to counteract the sometimes onerous bills that come up in the state legislature and that could cost our ratepayers thousands of dollars. EID staff and our legislative advocate called, wrote letters, and had sit-down meetings with regional legislators. These actions, and the actions of our ratepayers, helped change the tide and stopped the bills.
In late November of 2018, EID’s efforts were recognized by the Association of California Water Agencies for an Outreach Award highlighting EID’s efforts to defeat the water tax legislation that would have added an additional burden to water bills across the state. We thought the need for funding was correct—safe, reliable drinking water for all Californians—but we did not think the water tax was the way to fund it.
As District staff looks ahead to another year of hard work, important projects are on the horizon. Projects like the complicated flume rehabilitation are vital for ensuring a reliable water supply for our customers. Our system of flumes and canals are located in difficult terrain and construction on them can be complex and expensive—but they are an important artery for bringing water from the High Sierra to our customers’ taps.
Important piping projects, lift station repairs, and a variety of other needed projects that are largely invisible to our ratepayers’ daily lives are scheduled to keep our system safe and reliable. Along with these projects, EID staff will continue to act transparently and advocate fiercely for our ratepayers and community for this and every year.
This article was featured in the January / February 2019 issue of The Waterfront.