In one of its shorter meetings of the year, the Virgin Valley Water District installed a new board member, approved its final budget for FY2019, and authorized two agreements on issues that have been pending before the board for several years.

Randy Laub took his oath of office as newly appointed board member, filling the seat vacated when Barbara Ellestad resigned April 3. Her resignation left a board vacancy for the remainder of her elected term that runs through Dec. 31. The remaining board members selected Laub from among four individuals who applied for the opening. He can serve only through the end of Ellestad’s vacated term because the opening occurred after the close of the candidate filing period for the upcoming 2018 election. A board member will be elected from among the candidates who filed by March, and will assume office in 2019.

The tentative final budget for fiscal year 2019, presented by district financial officer Wes Smith, was unanimously accepted by the board. The $12 million budget was previously considered in early May for submission to the State of Nevada. The budget includes $10 million in capital projects, to provide a new water tank in the northwest area of the city, complete of the wellhouse for well 1A In Bunkerville, begin work on new Well 34 located north of the Lincoln County line, and other upgrades to the district’s water system.  District expenses will be balanced against income from fees paid by approximate 9,000 water users in the district

as well as developer fees and revenues from leased irrigation water shares.

The board voted unanimously 5-0 to accept a settlement agreement entered into with Las Vegas Metro Police Department and Jordan Coache. The settlement concerned property that was part of a forfeiture assessed when Jordan’s father, Robert Coache, was convicted of wrongdoing in a fraud scheme involving VVWD water shares.  Jordan, who was not part of the criminal activities, sought to settle the forfeiture of a Las Vegas house by paying $291,000 to Metro, which would then pay off VVWD’s claim against the property.

Finalizing a proposed amendment to the lease of irrigation water shares between VVWD and Conestoga Golf Course, the board voted unanimously 5-0 to allow a minor language adjustment requested by Conestoga, while setting a deadline of Friday, May 25, for receipt of their signature to the agreement.

The deal returns 50 unused water shares to VVWD for immediate re-lease to Southern Nevada Water Authority at the “fair market value” of $1,246 per share per year. Conestoga had leased 150 water shares from VVWD in 2011 at a rate of $250 per share, but never uses the entire allotment for the maintenance of its golf course.

The amended lease returns 50 water shares to VVWD and holds Conestoga’s current lease rate through the original 2019 term. VVWD then charges a stepped rate of increase for Conestoga future lease pricing, capping out at 90 percent of the SNWA fair market value and running through 2036.

VVWD also guarantees that, if needed for course maintenance, it will provide up to 150 total water shares per year to Conestoga through the end of the new 2036 contract date.

The amended agreement provides Conestoga the right to assign its contract to new course owners and guarantees adequate water at a specified rate for course operation. VVWD, in return, will increase its annual revenues by leasing more water to SNWA, and has now moved toward attaining fair market value for its irrigation water assets.