Re: Water district seeks to regain independence (Stu News, 10/10)

Last week the City Council voted 3-2 against District General Manager Renae Hinchey’s proposal to the Board of Directors to consider restoration of the Laguna Beach County Water district’s (LBCWD) independence. Mayor Iseman and Council Member Dicterow voted in favor of separation.

Two and a half years ago we had a major water leak in our home whilst we were on vacation. The LBCWD could not have been more helpful but the leak occurred at the beginning of our two-month billing cycle and our water usage went from 11 to 25 units. We have continued to follow the water district’s service ever since and have been strong supporters of Smart Meters.

The water district is well respected, and we applaud its leadership role in our community. The annual SmartScape event, the Art of Conservation program, the installation of Smart Meters, the title of #1 City for water conservation, and the excellent customer service provided are a credit to its staff and customers. Consequently, we believe the water district’s time has come to operate independently and here’s why:

The water district was formed in 1925 by its ratepayers. It belongs to the ratepayers and therefore, ratepayers should be allowed to decide how the District is governed, not the city council.

The City Council has an unprecedented full plate with city projects and issues and leaves little time for attending water district board meetings and activities.

With Climate Change a reality, the only focus and pursuit of the governing body should be water decisions, without devoting time to deal with numerous other city issues and interests.

The extra layer of approvals that occur by holding both a Commission and Water Board meeting that review an identical agenda is cumbersome, unnecessary and an extra expense to the ratepayers.

We believe the time has come for The City Council to relinquish their governance and allow the LBCWD to re-establish as an independent special district governed by one board to provide water services in the most efficient and responsive manner to its customers. 

As Council Member Whalen suggested it might be better if the ratepayers decided and we should have a vote on this. 

Charlotte & Alex Masarik

Laguna Beach

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