Friday, September 2, 2011

Irrigators unite: Cut district spending

The Wood River Valley Irrigation District 45's spending habits are out of control. Water rights owners using the Irrigation District's canal system for delivery of your water, your delivery charges are going up again in 2012. If you thought that the charges for 2011 delivery were exorbitant, wait until you get your bill for 2012.

In 2011, we paid $341.30 for our water to be delivered. Of this amount, $233 was an "administration fee," up from $40 in 2010. The additional monies were apparently needed for the tree-cutting campaign and anticipated legal actions. The district has already overspent its 2011 budget of $101,000 by $27,000 and the season isn't over. Additional overruns of $19,600 are expected in 2011.

The draft 2012 budget is currently projected at approximately $166,000. If you assume that approximately $46,600 of the 2012 budget is being used to pay back warrants (promissory notes) issued to cover the 2011 cost overruns, the portion of the 2012 budget not being used to pay debt is roughly $119,500. This alone is an increase over the 2011 budget of 18.3 percent, but when coupled with the $46,500 of debt service on the 2011 budget, the 2012 budget balloons by a staggering 64 percent over the 2011 budget.

In 2004, our bill for water delivery to our eight acres was $28.74; in 2011, it cost $341.30, an increase of 1,187 percent. That's right, 1,187 percent in seven years. Using the projected 64 percent increase over our 2011 water assessment bill, we figure our bill for the 2012 water season could be approximately $560. This is a 1,947 increase over our 2004 rate.

Water rights owners/constituents: Contact your board member and demand that all nonessential expenditures stop. And for next year's budget, demand that everything that can be slashed be slashed (just like they did to the trees). The Irrigation District's out-of-control spending needs to stop.

Attend the next Irrigation District board meeting on Sept. 9 at 1 p.m. at Pete's Bunkhouse, 35 Costoff Road in Bellevue. The budget approval "process" is under way and your input is crucial.

Mark and Bette Gower


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