To the Editor:
The Virgin Valley Water District (VVWD) has been through some tough times in the past few years, both structurally and financially. I know some of the past Board of Director’s decisions have been difficult and not always popular with the public. In general, I have been supportive of the actions and I feel some of the opponents would have been if they were more aware of all the details.
The latest difficult decision was the recent water rate restructuring and increases. It was over a year’s process that culminated in the new rates that passed and became effective in April billings. For the record, I was in favor of the increase after attending almost all of the meetings and understanding the issues in details. The bottom line is, without the increase, water delivery to the Virgin Valley was in severe jeopardy.
Every VVWD customer has received at least one bill with the new water rates. The VVWD expects those bills to be paid in full when they are due and penalties when they are not. That is regardless of the current ability to pay, if you are a snowbird out of town or on vacation. All customers expect collection efforts to be consistently and fairly applied to all monies owed.
Well, that is true unless you are specific debtor who the Board of Directors voted to give special treatment because this individual is on vacation until sometime in September. For some inexplicable action, a majority of the Board voted to provide a single individual, Mr. John Lonetti, Jr., a waiver from paying an $88,802.52 debt until he returns from vacation.
For the record, Mr. Richard Bowler, Mrs. Sandra Ramaker and Mr. Richard (Bubba) Smith voted for the special vacation exemption. Board member Mr. Nephi Julien recused himself due to a business relationship and Mrs. Barbara Ellestad voted Nay on the motion.
The three members of the Board that voted for this special vacation exception failed to perform their fiduciary responsibility that they were elected and swore to uphold. It is not within the discretion of these three Board members, because of some personal feelings, to postpone a demand for payment for this debt. I call on this Board to place this issue back on the June 16th Board meeting and vote to reverse their decision and immediately take all actions possible to collect this debt as you would with any other VVWD customer. This reversal action must be taken so all customers are treated equally.