VVWD Board approves revised insurance settlement

The Virgin Valley Water District Board of Directors unanimously approved a revised settlement agreement with its prior insurance agency, Nevada Public Agency Insurance Pool (Pool Pact) at its Aug. 7 meeting.

Under the revision, Pool Pact will still pay VVWD $900,000 to settle two claims the district made with the agency as far back as 2011. The revision stipulates that a court order for summary judgement will be vacated by the court itself, a move which favors Pool Pact but with little impact on the district.

The district sued Pool Pact for $1 million in 2017 saying it was entitled to be paid $500,000 each for two instances of criminal fraud by former district Hydrologist Michael Johnson. Pool Pact continually denied the payments.

In February, Clark County District Court ruled in favor of the water district on a partial summary judgment. The district and Pool Pact then agreed to participate in mediation to determine whether a settlement could be reached. In connection with the mediation and related settlement efforts, Pool Pact agreed, through its representatives, to pay VVWD $900,000 in settlement of VVWD’s claims.

According to board member Rich Bowler, Pool Pact does not consider itself to be an insurance company, but the court’s summary judgment refers to them as such. “They want to keep that out of the public’s knowledge. Personally, I don’t care what they call themselves. We get our $900,000 and I’m happy,” Bowler said.

In another unanimous vote, the board denied a request by the Sun City Mesquite Homeowners Association to forgive $733.27 in late fees incurred during the recent transfer of water features on the Conestoga golf course.

When the golf course was sold, the Anthem Mesquite Master Association inherited the water features on holes 9, 10, and 11. During the transition, the golf course continued to receive the water bills. However, the HOA did not receive the water bill from the previous golf course owners in time to make payment without incurring the late charge.

The district’s policy requires a 10 percent fee of the delinquent balance on late payments. Historically, the district has not removed late fees unless they were a result of a district error.

Phil Crapo, Sun City Mesquite general manager, explained to the board that after the water bill wound its way around the various entities and was received by the HOA, the bill was promptly paid albeit late.

“I understand there was a miscommunication between you and the other party that was purchasing the ground and the party selling the ground. I understand that happens,” Bowler told Crapo. “We had a gentleman come to us not too long ago that claimed that his bill had not gotten to him. He wanted us to also forgive his late fee. But unless it’s our fault, we do not want to set a precedent by waiving a late fee. Everybody else has to pay a late fee. I think you should go back to the parties that caused the late fee and ask them to pay it.”

Board President Nephi Julian said that another ratepayer had requested a late fee waiver for an amount larger than Sun City’s. “We denied that as well,” Julian said. “We’ve made our practice over time to not waive late fee. We denied the last one and, in my opinion, we should deny this one as well.”

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