The Kern County Water Agency held its board of directors meeting on Thursday, January 25, 2018 at its Bakersfield headquarters. The meeting didn’t begin until after 1:30 pm. It started in closed session at noon but they more than 30 items for closed session. So, President Ted Page called the meeting and the first item was election of officers and appointment of secretaries. Director Martin Milobar said there has been some criticism in the past about the officers retaining their seats time after time. Milobar gave a long testimony on behalf of Page saying his leadership skills has benefited the KCWA. Milobar started to nominate Page but Director Bruce Hafenfeld interrupted Milobar saying the procedure lets others speak before nominations are made. Roy Petrucci of Rosedale Rio Bravo Water Storage District said he’s been an advocate of rotating officers but under the current conditions he’s OK with retaining the same officers. Bill Phillimore, Kern Water Bank said he would like a fresh perspective and an opportunity for the member agencies to discuss this earlier. He sees the change as healthy. Rick Wegis, Semitropic WSD said he hated to go against Phillimore because Bill will take him out to the parking lot and win any debate one on one but he likes the continuity of retaining the same leadership when things are going well. Director Gene Lundquist says he sees the experience of Page as outstanding and good for the Agency. Lundquist said this is the year of the California Water Fix and Governor Jerry Brown’s last push in office – he believes Page is the best choice on the board to lead this as president. Lundquist would like to see a new president next year. Milobar moved to elect Page as board president and Director Royce Fast as vice president and Linda Infante, the current secretary all be reelected. Attorney Amelia Minaberrigaria said the board is following the established rules and the vote was unanimous. Page spoke saying he agreed with Wegis that the agency board should choose who serves as the best way to decide who serves. There is nothing in the rules requiring a rotation of officers. Hafenfeld thanked those who spoke for coming forward. So that was a snappy start to the meeting.
The directors’ quorum was kind of a bust with everyone already speaking who was going to speak. Rob Kunde, GM Wheeler Ridge Maricopa WSD spoke during public comment saying he wanted to praise Curtis Creel for the job he’s done as General Manager of the Agency. That was nice. Not every hand off of a manager position in a large water entity earns the new guy praise. But that’s water and I agree with Kunde in as much as my limited outside observations allow, that Creel has done a good job. These KCWA meetings used to drag out over two days with staff lined up three and four deep giving highly detailed reports much better suited to committee presentations. And to be fair Page has done his part to tighten up the meetings.
The financial reports were next and they were all approved and the bills paid. The board also adopted the dates for the KCWA board to meet during 2018. KCWA is also a member of the California Farm Water Coalition and gets a vote on the CFWC board. Peter Nelson of Shafter received the board’s support for that position. There are properties that get behind on the taxes and can be sold, so the board approved doing so if there are any.
There was a brief report from Brent Walthall about all things Sacramento. Holly Melton reported there could be CVP supplies coming available in San Luis Reservoir. She reported there is more than 1.6 million a/f banked in Kern County facilities as of October. Creel reported there were no reportable action items from the State Water Contractors meeting but much talk about how much renewable energy in the SWC’s portfolio is enough. It appears the state is limiting energy the way it has been limiting water. Creel said all the SWP contractors are impacted by the cost of energy and all of them are working in the same direction.
Creel also reported on allocations saying the Sierra snow pack has been dismal all up and down the range. There has been a high-pressure ridge pushing storms around California, mostly to the north. Lake Oroville is still suffering from the spillway problem and won’t be able to store as much this year. The SLR has 753,000 a/f on the fed side and 964,000 a/f on the state side. I might have got those figures backwards. He said DWR and Reclamation are talking about allowing fed water to encroach into the state share of storage. The long term forecast has equal changes of above and below normal water supplies. The 90 day forecast suggests below normal rain in South and Central California. And that was that.
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Kern County Water Agency
The Kern County Water Agency is the State Water Contract administrators for districts within Kern County.
Board: Division 1 – Ted Page, President, Division 2 – Bruce Hafenfeld, Division 3 – Martin Milobar, Division 4 – Phillip Cerro, Division 5 – Bill Wulff, Division 6 – Royce Fast & Division 7 – Gene Lundquist.
Staff: General Manager is Curtis Creel and in-house counsel is Amelia Minaberrigaria.
3200 Rio Mirada Drive, Bakersfield, CA 93308 Office: 661/634-1400 www.kcwa.com
Board packets can be accessed on line at: www.kcwa.com/public username: publicuser password: kcwa1234
Wifi in the boardroom password: h2o!Guest Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.