On November 19, 2010, I posted this story about my visit with Martha Van Rooijen, an expert in the business of sewers, grant writing, out reach to pass the assessment vote and project coordination. She was instrumental assisting the residents of the Cove in Cathedral City . I was very pleased when the HDWD decided to hire this professional back in 2010. Question…Why isn’t this expert on board NOW???
Yucca Valley, Ca.-At a recent meeting of the Hi-Desert Water District, the Board was spending money and dipping into the District’s thin money reserves. One item on this spending agenda was the hiring of Martha Van Rooijen, owner of MVR Consulting, which is a good thing. That evening I spoke in favor of this decision to bring in a professional and stated I wish she would have been called into the Waste water and Sewer project earlier.
As I see it, we could have saved money by hiring an expert in this field early on to keep this ‘Sewer Football’ moving down the field. Using football lingo to describe Martha, she is the #1 Quarterback having experience in grant writing, project management and public outreach.
I only hope it isn’t a case of a last minute “Hail Mary” or rather, “Hail Martha” winding down the 50 yard line heading toward the goal post. Martha has over 20 years of project management experience and her recent project, at the time of this post in 2010, was “The Cove” right here in Cathedral City. Her credentials and accomplishments are lengthy and very impressive:
MVR provided full project management services for the Cathedral City Cove Infrastructure Project, including design and engineering oversight, construction Infrastructure Project, including design and engineering oversight, construction support, public outreach, interagency coordination, assessment district formation, and grant administration.
MVR was responsible for writing and managing over $9M in State and Federal grants for the $64M Cove project. Funding also included a $31M property tax assessment district.
The project included street, sewer, water line and storm drain improvements for the 1,500 household Cove neighborhood. The project was complete in 2011.
Cathedral City won a Grand Prize for this project in the Public Works, Infrastructure and Transportation category of the 2007 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. Link> www.MVRconsulting.com
My first contact with Martha was by telephone and we spent three hours talking Sewers! Not your normal Girl Talk! Later that month, my husband and I made arrangements to spend a day with her in the sewer project of The Cove for an overview of the enormous undertaking of installing the laterals and connecting to the main line.
The trenching equipment is huge with steel walls over one foot thick to support the trenches. I asked my husband to stand next to some of the equipment for reference to size….as most of you know, my Bob is a big guy!
Visit Martha’s website: www.mvrconsulting.com
UPDATE: June 12, 2013 According to the recent meeting of the Hi-Desert Water District on June 5, 2013, the Board of Directors voted to award a contract with CV Strategies, a public relations firm for $56,000. While I am impressed with their education and experience in the news media, I did not see any experience dealing specifically with sewer issues on their resume. It is my opinion, this decision will set back our sewer project to accommodate for the necessary learning curve. GM Hoodwinks HDWD to Hire CV Strategies>LINK
UPDATE: April 4, 2014-Where is Martha? Look for HDWD PIO Jennifer Poland to request an additional $25,000 for CV Strategies (CV Strategies only requested an additional $13,000) for additional outreach. After sitting on the release of the assessment numbers for close to 3 months, the General Manager has set back the proposed outreach which may cause the assessment vote to fail. CV Strategies, a public relations firm, is not qualified to conduct the intensive outreach omitting bi-lingual literature and not handing out a concise short press release for the March 26th release of the sewer assessment figures, to name just a couple of things. Kudos for the wonderful website www.protectgroundwater.org and the 4 minute video, produced at a cost of $5,000, however the video does not ask for the customer’s vote to approve the assessment nor address huge fines for not complying placed on individual parcels.
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