Water consolidation fight returns
November 1, 2011
Douglas County commissioners may ask staff to look at creating a single Carson Valley water system for administrative purposes at their meeting on Thursday.
Commissioners received a letter signed by 72 Sheridan Acres residents asking that they consider an alternative to pursuing two Valley water systems, which was approved at the Oct. 6 meeting.
At that meeting, commissioners told utility staff to proceed combining Sheridan Acres and Jobs Peak water systems into a single company, and combining East and West Valley Water systems into a single company.
Sheridan Acres residents met afterwards and decided they’d petition the county to combine all four Carson Valley water systems.
In a letter to commissioners that was published in Friday’s edition of The Record-Courier, Sheridan residents said they figured that by combining a lower system reinvestment rate approved by commissioners in October, customers of the two Valley water systems would see little in the way of rate increases.
“Consolidation into a single water system is beneficial to all of Douglas County,” Sheridan residents said. “Under a single Valley water system, Douglas County would not have to continually bail out failing water system.”
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The county is subsidizing the Jobs Peak Water System now using taxpayer dollars. Consolidation of the water systems’ administration does not mean that they will be connected. Right now the county operates several water systems, serving approximately 3,500 customers in Johnson Lane, East Valley, Genoa, Sheridan Acres, Sunrise Estates and Jobs Peak in Carson Valley.
The county also operates three water systems at Lake Tahoe serving Zephyr Cove, Cave Rock and Skyland.
Attempts to consolidate administration of all the county’s water systems is driven by the desire to reduce taxpayer subsidies for the water systems.
East Valley Water System customer Stuart Posselt has been a longtime opponent of any consolidation of the water system.
In a letter appearing in Wednesday’s R-C, he called the proposal self-serving.
“The proposal to consolidate the Sheridan Acres and Jobs Peak Enterprise Fund (they are already consolidated) into one Valley Enterprise Fund is a self serving proposal at the cost of the East and West Valley users.”
Posselt said more than 1,000 signatures were presented to the board in opposition to consolidation when the county considered combining all of the water systems in 2010.
On Thursday, commissioners will discuss whether to have staff look at the effects of combining all four Valley water systems along with what the rates will do if they consolidate into two systems.
There are several water systems in Douglas County that are larger than those operated by the county, including the Gardnerville Ranchos, Indian Hills, Minden and the Gardnerville Town Water Co.
The county inherited most of the other water systems from private owners over the years.