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Yuba County Water Agency May 19, 2020

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Ger Bennett BannerOn May 19th, 2020 the Yuba Water Agency held its bi-weekly board of directors meeting via Zoom teleconference. Board Chairman Randy Fletcher called the meeting to order around 9:10 AM and led attendees in a flag salute. Standard board procedures followed, approval of the minutes, a session of public comment, and reports of the boards last closed session. Several employee positions in the district were modified and salaries adjusted to better reflect current responsibilities.Conterra

Patrick Mealoy, of Strategic Resource Advisors, gave an informational presentation to the board on Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) in California. For folks like me that don’t frequent the nitty gritty of power policy, Community Choice Aggregation is a city, county or joint powers authority that purchases electrical power for its constituents. This body determines rates and how to maintain the power supply and grid. With uncertainties surrounding PG&E, the state’s largest power supplier, CCA is poised to become much more common in the years to come.

The Watershed Experience Center is a project of the district that seeks to bring educational resources together in a facility to share the work that the district does. Educational goals of this endeavor are to enhance opportunities for residents of Yuba County to learn more about science, math, nature, and more using the Yuba River as a foundation. On top of the educational benefits it serves to connect residents to the economic benefits that the river provides for the local community.

Taking most of the meetings time was a report of district finances considering the long range budget for the agency. Now if there is something that I personally am not great at writing about its the numbers, so please bear with me and we will get through the metaphorical excel sheet that is a budget discussion.  Three scenarios were discussed by the board and staff. Ranging from aggressive borrowing to ensure that projects are completed on time to conservation of cash reserves to ensure a strong balance sheet. The district is bullish on investing ten million dollars a year into its community as means to stimulate the local economy and provide lasting effect. However it was mentioned that due to COVID-19 it is not in the districts interest to stimulate the local economy as a means of recovery. More items were discussed than can be crammed into one paragraph, but I’ll be sure to continue to track the numbers as the district firms up its long term strategy.

I do apologize for the surface level detail in this report, in the age of coronavirus even millennials are not immune to connectivity issues and I could not get my machine to stay in the meeting for more than 5 minutes at a time. However, as the state slowly starts opening back up I am looking forward to getting back in the board room with the people that make our water decisions.

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ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Copyright 2020 by Don A. Wright