Virgin Valley Water District
By Burton Weast
Ramaker was elected to the Virgin Valley Water District board of directors in 2010, and is running for her second term. Ramaker moved to Mesquite from Oregon in 2008 where she served on the Rockwood Public Utility District board and on the Water Consortium Board of the Pacific Northwest.
Why did you decide to run for a second term on the water board?
“I’m running for election because I care about the community. I know the value of water in the desert and I won’t turn a blind eye towards the amount of the water or a lack of concern over sending water down the river which I believe could have a devastating affect on our community. Once it’s gone it’s gone, and it’s a scarce resource. I believe my knowledge, experience and dedication is why people should re-elect me. I will act in the best interest of all businesses and ratepayers.”
You filed an unsuccessful ethics complaint against one board member, and other board members have routinely criticized you for your statements and positions. Do you think you can be an effective board member in this atmosphere?
“Yes I believe I can be an effective board member. I think we all agree to disagree as long as we come out with the right decision in the best interest of all the ratepayers. I do believe it’s a conflict to be the editor of a newspaper and be on the water board. But, I believe I must overlook some of the comments but sometimes you have to ask the tough questions and you have to make the tough statements. I think we can all work together, is it always easy, no.”
You were the only no vote on the $120 annual fee for developers who have “Will-Serve” letters from the district. Why did you vote no?
“When we sent out the “will it have an effect on you” letter they came back and there were a couple I was very concerned with, and developer RFMS came and spoke and talked about the fact it would be an $88,000 fee for them. The $120 doesn’t sound like a lot of money but $88,000 I think, is a lot of money. I think the impact on any of these businesses is there when they are trying to develop. It’s going to cost some developers, including Pulte a lot of money. I just didn’t think it was fair.”
What will be your most important goals to accomplish if you are re-elected?
“One, I think is really important is to have a more proactive program in detecting our problems before breaks occur and wear out our infrastructure. I also still oppose moves to send water out of the community without understanding how much we have and I would still like to see a Basin 122 study done.”
Anderson is a civil engineer and has been working for the City of Mesquite since 2014 as the City Engineer. He is running for the first time for the board of the Virgin Valley Water District. Anderson has lived in Mesquite since 2000, and has served as an engineer for the National Park Service and been a consulting engineer for several private companies.
Why did you decide to run for the water board?
“I’ve always had a goal of helping the community, and now that I am not attached to a private firm I thought with what is going on with the water district I could help by providing my engineering knowledge to the board.”
What experience to you have that would be an asset to the board?
“I came to the valley in 2000 with an engineering position with Bulloch Brothers. During that time I had the ability to work on many projects for the district so I have a keen knowledge of the district. I have a unique idea on what is needed in the valley and in the master plan and what the district needs to do. With that engineering experience I have a lot of technical advice I can share with the board to help them make good decisions on the upcoming well projects and transmission line projects as well as contracts.”
Your wife works for the Virgin Valley Water District, is that a conflict of interest?
“I understand that it can be perceived as a conflict but I am prepared to recuse myself with anything the board has to do with staff. I’ve looked at past agenda’s and it appears that the items that are related to staff are less than 10 percent of the agendas. I understand that there will be times when I have to abstain and not vote but I don’t feel there is that many times I have to do that. I believe the technical skills I bring to the board greatly outweigh the few times I would have to abstain. I feel the advantages greatly outweigh the times I would abstain.”
What will be your most important goals to accomplish if you are elected?
“One of the things that I think people are interested in is whether or not there is enough water. I’ve read through the reports and I want to make sure that the infrastructure needs are set and that the master plan is done. I want to look at our options for water development and make sure all our plans are in line with future growth that we might encounter. I’ve read through the reports and we have plenty of water through 2050 at the current growth rate. So I want to make sure we stay on the path in looking to the future and that that we have enough water for all our needs.”