Douglas commissioners say no to water consolidation | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Douglas commissioners say no to water consolidation

Matthew Renda
mrenda@tahoedailytribune.com

STATELINE, Nev. – Timing is everything. So the saying goes.

This saying rung especially true in Stateline, Nev. during Thursday June, 17 regular meeting of the Douglas County Commissioners as board members cited the current economic uncertainty as the principal reason for voting against consolidating eight separate water districts into one. The board voted four to one against consolidation with Commissioner Doug Johnson representing the

lone dissenting vote.

“While consolidation will be an issue this board will continue to explore, it is not the right time,” Chairman Michael Olson said during the proceedings. “I don’t feel comfortable introducing further financial hardships for people in a downturned economy.”

Vice-Chairman David Bradey reiterated Olson’s position during his own comments.

“There is a need for consolidation of some sort,” he said. “But now is not the time. Consolidation continues to be a work in progress.”

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Besides the issue of undertaking a huge financial overhaul of the water district in economically uncertain times, Commissioner Greg Lynn took issue with the fact that certain districts would have to subsidize the improvements of others, a practice he said was inequitable.

“It¹s not fair for one set of users to subsidize another set of users,” he said.

Nancy McDermid said she was in favor of exploring alternatives which include keeping all eight districts separate, consolidating some of them into distinct precincts, or splitting the lakeside districts and the valley districts into two disparate water systems.

Douglas County Manager T. Michael Brown said the vote means staff must scramble to establish individual rates for all eight districts for the coming 2010-2011 fiscal year, which begins in July.

“Most likely we’ll use the numbers outlined in the Water Consolidation Study,” Brown said after the vote occurred.

Johnson, who cast the lone dissenting vote, said while he respected the decision making abilities of his fellow board members, no time is the right time to undertake a policy that requires a dramatic raise in rates for customers.

“When is the right time to begin affecting water rates?” he asked. “I don¹t see how you can succeed by continually kicking the can down the road.”

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