Wednesday, April 16, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

A divided board

The Georgetown Divide Public Utility District board is living up to its name — divided. With a minority of two now trying to keep the district from imploding the outlook is for dark and stormy boardroom weather.

The state is requiring the district to upgrade its water treatment plant, yet the new board majority voted to delay the project and not put it out to bid among the outfits that had been prequalfied. The estimated $9.3 million project has $6.9 million worth of grants and loans.

If the board doesn’t get a bid lined up by June it will lose the grants and loans. Then it will either have to have to pay a bigger percentage of the project and put it all on the backs of the ratepayers or it will keep dithering until the state starts levying fines, which eventually will wind up costing the ratepayers.

The board’s primary responsibility is providing good quality water.

Whether the district can even seek a bond is questionable without a finance officer. And the board president’s suggestion that the district doesn’t need a finance officer with a degree is prescription for a mess. Hiring a bookkeeper with a high school diploma would put the district in financial peril. The district doesn’t need a certified public accountant on staff, but it should have someone with a degree in accounting. And the board can’t say it will only hire locally. Set the job description, advertise in the appropriate publications and let the general manager hire the best qualified person, not some friend or acquaintance of some board member.

Mountain Democrat

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