SC Water Budget Committee learns no money for water, no corps contract

With Police Chief Rick Mendenhall seated just inside the door, it seemed that the Shady Cove Water District Budget Committee Meeting might be an exciting one. The parking lot was packed and there wasn’t an empty seat in the hall. The crowd gave off a decidedly anticipatory vibe. Among those in the audience were District electees Gene Reitz, Roger Hays and Phillip Keith.

The meeting began with committee elections. Dee Hawkins turned down a proposed nomination to be the budget committee chair. The position went to Olin Shanrock. Barbara Dicks was elected secretary.

Budget Manager Jim Collier read the budget message then read through the budget and advised that the committee could either accept the budget, accept it in part, or ask for a new budget altogether.

Before the vote, the budget was reviewed line by line, all present following along reading the copies they received.  Public comment was addressed following each line item. The total proposed budget was $26,000 the majority of the monies – 20K – fell under the “Donation” line item. Collier advised that “several” individuals had offered donations. This line item brought on many questions from the audience.

John Burgess asked what amount had been offered by the donors. Collier said no amounts had been specified. Burgess noted that the $20,000 seemed high in that light. Collier advised the 20K was a “target” amount only.

It was also noted that in the debt line items was the repayment of a $20,000 loan and was the 20K in donations to cover that? Collier advised that the two amounts weren’t directly linked.

More questions then arose regarding the loan line item. Bill Miller inquired if there were receipts for the loans, and were they available to the public. Collier said yes to both. It was decided that the receipts would not be brought to a future meeting, but anyone wishing to see them could call Collier and set up a meeting to view them. Continuing on the subject, Gary Endicott asked if there was also a publicly available list of those who made the loans. Collier said yes, and the process for viewing would be the same.

Also regarding the debt section of the budget was a question posed by Gerald Holmquist. He noted that based on that section it appeared there were no plans to purchase water in the upcoming fiscal year.

Collier confirmed this, stating there is no money for water purchase at this time. If money becomes available for same a supplemental budget meeting would be held. Holmquist then asked if this meant the contract with the Corps of Engineers was gone. Collier responded, saying  that due to delays and staff changes within the Corps – yes – the contract was void.

Phillip Keith wondered how this would affect current water delivery contracts. Collier advised that there were no requests for delivery at present, but if any came in the water would be purchased from Medford and wouldn’t be a district expense.

Miller noted that in a previous meeting it was stated there were 50 current contracts. Those are proprietary contracts and are for running water, not delivered water, said Collier

With no further questions being asked the committee passed the proposed budget unanimously. The water district board members will vote on the budget at the June 30 meeting.

Of note regarding that meeting: the time has been changed to 3:30 p.m. and the Public Notice for that meeting – as with this one – would be in the Mail Tribune, but not the Upper Rogue Independent. Collier advised that the publishing schedule of the URI did not coincide with the meeting announcements.
By Christy Pitto
Of the Independent

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