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The city calls a foul because the Golden Hills, Water Ward Commission has set priorities | News

As expected at the special meeting on March 30, the Board of Directors of the Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District has advanced an ordinance to establish priorities for water sales next year.

The 2022 Water Priority Ordinance was the topic of a public workshop held two days ago. TCCWD General Manager Tom Niceler decides to meet and recommend the Board’s extraordinary Water Priority Committee, consisting of Chairman Robert Schultz and Director Kathy Kasir, on March 24. Said that he did. The Board shall adopt this year’s Water Priority Ordinance, which has the same content as last year’s ordinance, with only the date and ordinance number changed.

Water from state water projects that the district sells this year is negligible, if any, and priorities are more important than if there is sufficient imported water.

“In 2022, the third year of widespread recognition as the worst drought in history, water allocation and operation are very important,” Nisler said in a staff report. Outlined the efforts of the Board of Directors related to water and related matters. Priority ordinance. The Board has stated that it will consider them and gather public opinion at the previous four public meetings.

Golden Hills, City Objects

However, Susan Wells, general manager of the Golden Hills Community Services District, told board members that the March 28 meeting was just a “public workshop” by name.

Read a letter to the board signed by Tehachapi Mayor Phil Smith and President John Buckley of the Golden Hills CSD Board, in addition to Wells, Mayor Greg Garrett, and lawyer Joseph Hughes, in two regions. The municipality is a water district.

“Public workshops are held prior to submitting proposed new or amended rules or other important actions to the Governing Board to consider for feedback from affected stakeholders. They are members before the decision begins. “

However, she said the draft ordinance was prepared and approved by an extraordinary committee of the water district before giving public testimony. Will it change so much? It’s almost the same since 1977, “she said.

“You have started the workshop (on March 28), notifying that the Ad Hoc Committee has already met privately on March 25 and has reached the recommended form of the draft ordinance presented at the workshop. Last year’s ordinance was the ordinance number and its date. Then, in much the same format as it was written in the 1970s, mechanically from the general public, with a clear pre-commitment to the recommended draft ordinance. I received a comment. “

Wells recommended that “your board and staff will be better educated about the process of transparency in public institutions.”

She also said that a special concern raised at the March 28 meeting was that the combination of recharged water to meet this year’s demand was ranked lower in the ordinance than agricultural use. rice field.

The Golden Hills CSD is an M & I (Municipal and Industrial) user and does not have access to high priority direct water supply from the district (because there is no pipeline to Golden Hills). Instead, as part of the combined program, the district can pump groundwater and pay the district according to the M & I contract. However, by lowering the priority by using this year’s water together, this policy “virtually denies the supply and use of water for state water projects. Those who cannot deliver that water directly this year. To us. “

“This year’s combined demand is clearly different from recharging to meet the conditions of the M & I contract,” she said.

I’m looking forward to

At a meeting on March 28, Hughes, a lawyer representing both the city and CSD, and Jay Schlosser, Director of Development Services at Wells and Tehachapi, immediately began creating a permanent priority list rather than an annual ordinance. I requested the board to do so.

“President Schultz partially replied that he could not make that promise because he could not consult with the Brown Act and other board members,” Wells said.

“This statement was made during a public meeting, during a public workshop to receive comments and questions about the draft ordinance. No more for the board to discuss and make its promises. There is no time for. “

Pointing out that the process can take most of the year, she again requested the board to establish a permanent water priority committee consisting of board members and stakeholders. .. She said.

“We promise to work with your district. We just ask for the same in return. Members of our two public agencies are a significant portion of the water costs of state water projects. I will pay. “

What’s next?

Without comment on the statement in Wells’ letter, the board voted 4-0 in April and posted the notice of public notice necessary to consider adopting the ordinance at the regular meeting of the board in April. The proposed ordinance will be published in the Legal Notices section of. Tehachapi News.

The meeting will take place on Wednesday, April 20, at 3:00 pm at the district headquarters on Bandatch Road 22901 in Tehachapi. The agenda will be published online at tccwd.com/.

Claudia Elliott is a freelance journalist and former editor of Tehachapi News. She lives in Tehachapi and can be contacted by her email: claudia@claudiaelliott.net.

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