VVWD Board Mulls Revocation Of Will Serve Letters

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The Virgin Valley Water District (VVWD) again considered rules for implementation of Senate Bill 271, which passed at the request of the district, during the 2015 legislative session.  The bill was introduced by State Senator Joe Hardy and State Representative Chris Edwards.

The legislation was needed as VVWD has for years issued “will serve” letters to individuals and companies that need to show that water is available for their lot or development.  Such letters are required by lenders and by the City and County before a building permit is issued.  The problem arose when many of the letters were not acted upon as the recession halted development.  Even though the applicant may have gone bankrupt or had turned their property over to lenders, the will service letters continued in force, typing up water that may be needed in the future for other projects as the economy improves.

“If we don’t go back and clean up will serve we are done after Sun City finishes,” said director Barbara Ellestad.

The Senate Bill authorized the VVWD to require all existing will serve letters to apply for renewal, and allows the district to charge a monthly fee for maintaining the obligation to serve.  In the proposed ordinance, the monthly fee for maintaining the will serve commitment will cost $10 a month after the first year.  The fees would begin on existing letters on July 1, 2016.

All new will serve letters issued by the district will contain provision requiring the annual renewal of the letters if the applicant has not built and connected to the water system.

While the board unanimously agreed on the process, the details on how to implement the measure generated a lengthy discussion.

Dennis Morgan, a builder in the Royal Vista subdivision told the board “I’ve already paid for the water, do I have to pay again?”  VVWD attorney Bo Bingham told Morgan that he would not be required to pay impact fees again, but that he would be subject to the $10 fee for lots not built upon.  “That would be a fee that Royal Vista and other developers would have to pay,” said Bingham.

Director Bubba Smith objected saying “He’s already paid for the water,” and stressed that he is not “in favor of going after active developers.”  Bingham pointed out that the proposed ordinance allows a waiver of the fees if the applicant shows they have spent money equal to 10 percent of the total estimated costs of completing the project each year.

After discussion the board asked staff to continue to work on the ordinance and bring it back for further review.

In other business the board approved staff purchase of a new backhoe for a price not to exceed $100,000.  Kevin Brown, district manager, told the board that he plans to purchase a new Cat brand backhoe from Cashman Cat in Henderson, which had the lowest price.  Brown estimated the final cost with trade-in would be about $85,000.

The board also approved a project change order for the Mesa Blvd. pipeline replacement of $2,551.65 after Mesquite General Contracting found the need for additional piping when the area was excavated.

The only dissent in the meeting came after Brown requested the board authorize the purchase of $26,000 of pipe to begin construction of a Mesquite Heights transmission line extension to the Stone Haven subdivision.  Brown noted that the extension was included in the 2015-2016 budget.  The request passed 3 to 2 with directors Sandra Ramaker and Smith voting no without explanation.

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