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IVCSD: New general manager, new board member

By Meg Upton

     The March monthly regular Indian Valley Community Services district meeting demonstrated a now familiar sight these days—another new board member being appointed and a new general manager at the helm.

     The board interviewed two candidates for the seat left open by the departure of Kaley Bentz, and appointed retiree Wanda Carpenter who had more time to spend working for the IVCSD. Directors thanked the other candidate Jason Gray-Powers for his interest in serving the district, and were candid about the time commitment these days, which nearly make the IVCSD board directors work full time (for free) on all the post Dixie fire ongoing projects.

     During public comment Gray-Powers asked about transparency and the transparency award earned by the IVCSD and given to the district by the California Special District Association. Board Clerk Jeff Titcomb spoke about accepting the award and the changes that had been implemented before the award and since to help serve the district with better access to information regarding the district—chiefly the new and revamped website: https://www.indianvalleycsd.com/.

     Kristi Gorbet made a general remark on the state of the IVCSD board today. “[We have] board members with experience in business, civil engineering, utilities, and the cool thing about our new general manager from Merced is he is also the general manager in Chester part-time and here with a month-to-month contract.” Gorbet was referring to Adam Cox who joined the meeting via Zoom.

     Gorbet said she showed Cox around the district and Round Valley Lake last Monday, and that he “fell in love with the place.”

     Cox  began working last Monday and Tuesday to come up with action plans for district projects and wants to get these projects moving and get the town rebuilt, according to Gorbet.

     The evening could be categorized as an evening with more discussion than pertinent actions needing attention. Gorbet caught both the audience and newer board directors up to speed on issues in the district.

     There was a brief discussion of beetle-killed trees in the park. Board director  Susan Doran brought up the need for full proposals before directors vote on them. There were two contracts—one with complete information and one without. This is tabled until both have complete information.

     The majority of the time was spent in discussion of Cal-OES /FEMA and non-FEMA projects. Last month five projects were identified as needing attention through out the district. The number one project is the sewer lift stations. It was discovered that Lift Station 3 doesn’t have an easement. The lack of easements is becoming a common theme post Dixie Fire recovery.

     Don Silva reported that Lift Station 2 can come online as soon as the panels are moved and stated it will take an electrician a couple of days to implement.

     Another prominent discussion occurred over project 3: The Fire Station. Insurance money pay out on the burned fire station is $1.3 million for fire station.  The ambulance  service and sheriff have committed to $700,000 toward the building (they will have bays and office space within it and lease from the district — $400,000 from the ambulance and $300,000 from the sheriff department). The total cost of the new building is currently estimated at 3.8 million to complete. Designing the building alone might be $60,000. The district directors were aware of the shortfall and discussed possibilities to get to building fully funded.

     There’s now a signed contract with Select Environmental.

     Streetscape Committee is in touch with the original builder of the gazebo to get a quote for restoration and also going out to bid for two more quotes.

Prior to the Dixie Fire, $304,000 had been granted the district for a new water tank from the Integrated Regional Water Management Program. The district is now working with them to rescope the project and use the funds to make line repairs and install new hydrants damaged by the fire. Potentially $140,000 is available for additional funding.

     The next discussion surrounded the cemetery district and its project of replacing its 15,000 feet of line that waters the cemetery. It came to the district’s attention that the cemetery district pays $500 a year for 5 million gallons of non-potable water that comes straight out of Round Valley Lake.

     The IVCSD owns 267 feet of line that it is maintaining. This was another area where there is no easement on record nor special use permit. “This should have had one but never did,” said Doran.

     The Cemetery District has just this single project with FEMA/Cal-OES to complete. Doran offered that there are more questions to be discovered about this project.

     There was ample discussion on how leaks in the cemetery lines have been an issue for several years prior to the fire.

     Directors also touched on every rebuild getting a new meter. On Cal-OES not not capping off the sewer lines after clean ups.

     The fire department report was read out (Chief Bob Orange was not present). Sierra Electronics is currently installing newly acquired radios in district fire trucks.

Redlands delivered a truck to the district with only 35,000 miles on it.

San Ramon is bringing up an engine and emergency support vehicles along with $4,000 in cash donations to the department.

     Next meeting is scheduled for April 13 at 6:30 p.m. at the Taylorsville Historic Hall.

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