A special board meeting of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District on April 15 was largely informational as President Bonnie McLane and directors Maria Capraun and Norm Krizl tackled three agenda items including the hiring of a new general manager, next year’s budget and finding a replacement CPA and auditor.
Directors Ray Griffiths and Kathy Otermat were absent.
Finding a permanent general manager has become a recent priority as the hours Interim General Manager Gary Hoffmann can work have largely been used up. Hoffmann, a retired state engineer, has worked for the district since last July but is limited by CalPERS to working 960 hours in a fiscal year. According to McLane, Hoffmann may run out of hours in a few weeks, which would leave the district without a general manager.
However, in a phone call after the meeting, Hoffmann said he is adjusting his work schedule with the intention of staying on the job until his replacement is found.
In order to expedite the hiring process, the board reviewed an updated schedule from Synergy Solutions, the firm contracted to recruit the new general manager. According to McLane, by mid-May they expect to have three to five candidates to interview with a tentative start date of June 16. She said initially Synergy had planned to do all the vetting of potential candidates, but the district has since asked to participate in reviewing the top 10 candidates before the list is narrowed down to the final handful.
The board also discussed the budget for next year. McLane said they anticipate a $250,000 deficit in part due to an expected 25 percent drop in revenue from the drought. In mid-April, the board announced a Stage 2 drought emergency and cut irrigation water allotments by 25 percent. Irrigation users consume 75 percent of the district’s water. Potable water customers were also asked to cut water usage by 30 percent but as of now that’s voluntary. During the meeting, members of the Finance Committee and the board tossed around different ideas for cutting expenses and raising revenue including possible staff reductions and rate increases.
That discussion led to questioning district counsel Barbara Brenner regarding the mechanics of a Proposition 218 hearing with the board considering using the hearing to explain both the surcharge needed to pay for the retrofit of the Auburn Lake Trails Water Treatment Plant and the need to raise water rates.
Brenner told the board they could do both at a hearing, but they would first need to prepare a cost of service study to justify any rate increases. That topic will be discussed more at next month’s board meeting.
The board also reviewed the status of two RFPs (request for proposals) to find an auditor and CPA for the district. Hoffmann reported they had not received any responses to the public postings of the RFPs and would now approach certain firms regarding their interest in providing those services.
The next regular board meeting will be on May 13 at 5:30 p.m.
Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or [email protected] Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.