Almanac

News - November 13, 2013

Workshop ahead on water district's future

by Dave Boyce

There is uncertainty ahead for residents within the Los Trancos County Water District. The district's seven-year habit of spending property tax revenues to prevent wildfires, channel storm-water runoff, and preserve 5.7 acres of open space is threatened by the possible dissolution of the district.

The district gave itself a new mission in 2006 after selling its water distribution system to the California Water Service Company (Cal Water). A public workshop on the district's future is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, in the Portola Valley Community Hall at 765 Portola Road.

The workshop's host, the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo), is one regional authority that has expressed a preference for aligning the district's mission to its activities or, failing that, dissolving it and redistributing its tax revenues — $290,000 in 2013-14 — to agencies such as San Mateo County and the local fire protection district.

A newly elected majority on the water district board has given indications that they would like to gracefully transfer the district's specific activities to other agencies agreeing to take them over. But if those agencies are not willing to commit to that, it would "force (the water district) to stay in business. That's not something I really want to do," newly elected board member Charlie Krenz said in the run-up to the election. "I'm in this (race) to wind it down and secure some of these services."

Comments

Posted by Portola Valley Resident, a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Nov 12, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Thank you for announcing the upcoming LAFCo workshop which will discuss all the governance options for the Los Trancos County Water District. Your article did not mention that there are 3 alternatives which this district can pursue. Straight dissolution with all tax revenues distributed to all 10 local agencies; activation of latent powers for fire safety and storm water drainage and finally, the one option, which is never really discussed in any of your previous articles, district dissolution with the concurrent establishment of Zones of Benefit or maintenance districts managed within County agencies allowing for local control of those transferred services and funds. Citizen advisory groups would work with these agencies to ensure that our fire safety and drainage needs are addressed yearly.

My personal belief that our district cannot govern itself anymore and needs experienced and professional management from the relative county agencies and special districts. Talk of spending $4M for a new drainage infrastructure on an annual district budget of $290,000 is madness. We have no engineering staff or board experience managing multi-million dollar projects. Let us give up the ghost and move on!


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