Protecting our ground water
Yucca Valley, Ca. - This evening, the Wastewater Public Advisory Committee celebrated three years of sewer discussions with servings of chocolate cake and ice cream after posing for their photo-op. WPAC member Jimm Petersen told me even though there are new members, the original cast were still in the majority.
HDWD Director Dan Munsey thanked all the members for attending and commented when he was the Chair for this committee he had no idea that one year later, he would be running for office and then just recently reelected for another term as Director of the Hi-Desert Water District. He thanked the members for their dedication to the Wastewater Project.
The presentation of the Assessment Districts by Chief Financial Officer, Frank Luckino, did not reveal any costs and reported they would become available in January as a “late Christmas present.” He explained there were 5 pages of “unusual” parcels that needed to be evaluated for their assessment costs. For example, the Yucca Valley Airport District is located on one parcel that has no showers, no hoses, no toilets and no water meter. He doubted the airport would benefit from protecting the ground water and might be exempt from being assessed for the Sewer and Wastewater Treatment Plant. Another dilemma that Luckino presented was single family parcels legally zoned to house Assisted Living Group Homes with multiple live-in residents which would be using more water.
Some WPAC members had questions about the story they read in the Hi-Desert Star that described the newly formed 1A assessment district within the original boundaries of Phase 1. Jennifer Cusak, HDWD Public Information Officer, explained this was done in order to seek grants for low income residents and prepare a study to designate a small part of this huge project “shovel ready” should those funds become available.
It appeared to me some members were not informed of this new approach based on the many questions asked about the boundaries of the Phase 1A. One member commented the South side of the plant located on Hwy 62, was not low income. WPAC Chair Cynthia Kraemer stated the low income area of Paradise Valley in the North side of 1A assessment district, is for the most part occupied by low income renters or tenants. She said the majority of these properties are owned by investors that can well afford to pay their part.
At this meeting, there was an overview presented regarding the new regulations to phase out septic use and I will write about that in a separate post.
As I see it, the good news is a very special consultant may be coming on board as the trained, experienced and professional “Task Master” to manage the sewer project and lead the outreach for this project to our community. She is also a grant writer and has just finished the Cove Project for Cathedral City. I look forward to speaking in favor of bringing in experienced leaders. I will write more on the “Martha” later…….