Davis sworn in; district discusses river line

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Ben Davis was sworn in as the newest board member of the Virgin Valley Water District Tuesday night, taking the place of Robert “Bubba” Smith who moved out of the area in July. Photo by Stephanie Frehner.

Ben Davis was sworn in as the newest board member of the Virgin Valley Water District Tuesday night, taking the place of Robert “Bubba” Smith who moved out of the area in July. Photo by Stephanie Frehner.

It was a meeting for questions on Tuesday as the Virgin Valley Water District (VVWD) Board discussed several things lined up for repairs and improvements. With Board President Nephi Julien being absent, Vice President Barbara Ellestad conducted the meeting.

Newcomer Ben Davis was sworn in before business was tasked in purchasing equipment to the SCADA system which includes Project Logic Controls (PLC) systems and Human/Machine Interface (HMI) hardware that will be installed at each of the five treatment plants. The HMI is similar to that of an iPad and allow staff to monitor operations at the plants. Additional equipment needed are adapters that will allow the older equipment to communicate and function with the newer tools. With the adapters, the district will save several tens of thousands of dollars. The directors unanimously approved the purchase not to exceed $54,000 for this first step of improvements. For the 2017 fiscal year, the board budgeted $160,000 for the improvements and it is estimated to be complete by May 2017.

The next item up for discussion was damage discovered at the airport water tank in February. According to district General Manager Kevin Brown, “the interior floor, walls and roof have significant corrosion issues that have resulted from the failure of both the corrosion control system and protective coating.” To repair it, staff will need to take the tank offline, drain it and then begin the repair work which is planned to take 60 days to complete. The airport tank, located in Vista del Monte, provides water to most residents and businesses north of I-15, also known as Pressure Zone 2. Since the airport tank co-serves with the Flat Top Mesa tank, those users will see a slight drop in their water pressure by two to three psi. “This cannot be delayed another season,” said Brown. “The longer we put this off, the worse it’s going to get.” The airport tank is the second oldest in the valley, installed in 1990-91. Letters will be sent out to HOAs, residents and businesses once a contract has been awarded in early December. The board again voted 4-0, passing the item and giving staff the go ahead to prepare the bid package.

Forsgren Engineering then presented their options for the planned river line near the Bunkerville Bridge on Riverside Road. The option board members favored is the least expensive at just $590,000 even though the budgeted amount for the year was $1 million. Board member Rich Bowler motioned in favor of that option with some adjustments, running from high water to high water on each side of the river and opting to consider adding a second parallel line. The existing line that was installed in 2008 has already failed once at the time of installation, suggesting that it may have other issues that are unable to be examined. The option selected by the board allows for crews and staff to see how the new pipe will sit below the river. Bowler also added to his motion the addition of 400 feet of steel casing as part of the structure of the line, which will help keep the pipes protected longer. The motion passed by a vote of 4 to 0 even though board member Sandra Ramaker and Ellestad both had reservations about there being a total of three lines from that source. This is another project set for the low-flow season for the river, and is set to begin this winter, with the peak times being from November to February. With a 12-week completion estimation, Forsgren will have some wiggle room for any challenges that may arise.

The final item up for discussion was the ongoing consideration of how to handle will-serve letters within the VVWD. There are approximately 2700 EDUs that are reserved by undeveloped areas of the VVWD, many through housing subdivisions. Brown stated that the initial letters sent out in July resulted in about 90 of those EDUs being removed from the pending list, as homes were built and made active. Pulte Del Webb representative John Schippert and Rick Hawes from RFMS, Inc. both stated their oppositions to the VVDW implementing a new policy requiring the renewal of will-serve letters. The new policy would require developers to prove annually that they are actively developing in their EDU areas or else pay a fee for not developing.

Several responses were received from the EDU holders, who stated that the changes in the will-serves would harm future development and real estate, they are unfair to those who previously paid Ordinance II fees and that the proposed changes are hard to understand. According to backup material in the agenda packet for Tuesday’s meeting, staff of the VVWD disagreed with those statements and concluded that the proposed changes would neither impose a direct and significant economic burden on business nor would it directly restrict the formation, operation or expansion of business.

After a lengthy discussion between board members, staff and the audience, Bowler motioned that the board approve the business impact statement as presented by staff members and directed them to meet with developers to iron out details. The motion passed by a 3-1 vote with Ramaker being the lone nay, citing that she couldn’t “approve until changes are brought back to the board for review.”

The issue will be brought back to the VVWD at their September 6 meeting where they will consider adoption of the proposed rule.

 

Comments

  1. If a developer can’t afford $10 per month for his guaranteed commitment for the delivery of water, then he has no business building $200,000+ homes.

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