Decision on development impact fees postponed until April
Anderson was the person who calculated the impact fees that would be paid at the time of construction and set aside to be used for improvements on the sewer system, water facilities, parks and fire protection as needed due to the impact of growth.
At the March portion of the hearing there were questions about the wording of the ordinance and resolution as well as the calculation of fees. Some questioned the wisdom of implementing such fees stating they would depress the real estate market and discourage people from investing in the Westwood community.
Director Nick Ceaglio explained that property values would appreciate if the maintenance and improvements on the infrastructure kept abreast of increased usage. Also he said it was only recently the board created a capital improvement fund to make needed repairs on the sewer and water systems. It was important to keep up with the cost of living, he said.
Currently the district is in the process of hiring a manager and water/sewer technician to take the place of Manager Chuck Anders, who retired in December 2006, and Assistant Manager Rob Compton, who took a job with the State of California March 12.
To attract a qualified general manager, the WCSD has had to raise the salary range from $34,000-$42,300 to $42,000-$70,000. In addition, the district will most likely have to pay someone to hold the water and/or sewer certification until the new employee can obtain the required schooling and testing to become certified.
District Secretary Susan Coffi told board members she could not finish the preliminary 2007-2008 budget until she knew salary figures. Also she said the board may have to consider raising water and sewer rates to meet expenses.
Another expense in the near future will be work on the sewer to bring it into compliance with state law. The California Regional Water Quality Control Board has informed the district it will receive a cease and desist order because it violated state law when the sewer ponds overflowed last winter when precipitation was about 167 percent of normal.
The Water Quality Control Board will provide a list of the district’s deficiencies and the district will need to draft a plan to address the issues and look for financing to fund the projects. Districts that receive a cease and desist letter are usually eligible for grant funding to help with expenses.
Due to the required work on the sewer, the board determined it could not approve an extended lease for Westwood Sanitation. Owner Vince Gannon said he would like to invest in a metal building but would only do so if the board would agree to a longer lease so he knew he would be able to operate his business for awhile, which involves discharging clarified liquid waste from septic tanks into the sewer ponds. The board agreed to revisit the idea once they had received direction from the state and had created a plan for compliance.
The board authorized seasonal water and sewer billing for RV spaces rented by Lassen West Mobile Home Park. The owners of the park will pay the current rate for each slot rented during the summer months when spaces are available.
Also authorized were revisions on personnel policy to bring it into compliance with state law. Ceaglio suggested the policy be reviewed annually to ensure it is kept in compliance.
Although Compton did not apply for the position of general manager the board authorized a retroactive salary raise in keeping with the demands of the job. He will be paid the difference between his current salary and that of the managerial position for the four and a half months he has worked in this job.
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