Thirsty Three Valleys Municipal Water District to Buy Water Rights from La Verne

June 22, 2010
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Amherst water filtration station in La Verne

Amherst water filtration station in La Verne

By a vote of 4-1, the La Verne City Council approved a resolution authorizing the sale of 25 acre feet of the City’s water rights to the Three Valleys Municipal Water District. The projected sale is expected to net the City $287,500. Councilman Steven Johnson opposed the sale.

Johnson opposed the sale on grounds that the City of La Verne should not be selling its water or water rights when its own residents are being surcharged for exceeding restricted usage levels.

La Verne Pubic Works Director Dan Keesey replied the City was selling the rights to another public agency, not a private party. “It’s in our best interest,” he said. “If they lose on their investment, it impacts us all.”

Before taking the vote, Mayor Don Kendrick also said “it’s important” that the City work with the Three Valleys Municipal Water District.

In other items, the Council accepted the resignation of Johnson from the La Verne Redevelopment Agency. Johnson had to step down in accordance with state law, because he is acquiring full ownership of a property within the Agency boundaries. The move is not unprecedented. Former La Verne Mayor Jon Blickenstaff similarly resigned from the agency because of property he owned within agency boundaries.

As a result of the vacancy, City Evelyn Clark was instructed to begin recruiting candidates for the position by posting notices throughout the city. She will also notify former council and planning commission candidates about the open position. The deadline to apply is July 7, at 5 p.m. According to the timetable, the council will commence interviewing candidates on July 12 and make its appointment on July 19.

Although the council could leave the seat vacant until the next election, Kendrick said in a response to a question by councilmember Robin Carder that he favored getting “more people involved” in the process.

In other business, the City unanimously approved to continue funding the La Verne Chamber of Commerce at the existing level of $35,000 for the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

Similarly, the City approved the 2010-2011 annual budget of the Old Town La Verne Business Improvement District (OTLVBID). Mayor Kendrick and Councilman Johnson did not act or participate in the (OTLVBID) matter because Kendrick owns a business with the district boundaries and Johnson owns a rental property within 500 feet of the district boundaries. No businesses or residents appeared to address the issue. An annual public “protest” hearing is required to comply with state law, the municipal code, and by-laws applicable to the OTLVBID.

City staff also recommended that the City’s Utility User’s Tax be maintained at current voter-approved rates. The estimated $3.3 million revenue generated by the tax is needed to help the City balance its 2010/2011 budget.

Finally, one area of the City that will be receiving less water in the future is Rancho La Verne (District 6, Zone 4-1). Because a majority of residents opposed an increase (140 in favor, 150 opposed) in their annual assessment fee to maintain the area, city staff plans to reduce the level of landscape maintenance service by $1,860 and reduce irrigation use by $19,050 in Rancho La Verne. In the Riparian Trail, landscape maintenance service will be reduced by $13,200 and irrigation use will be reduced by $25,400. The reductions will begin July 1, 2010. 

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