The Virgin Valley Water District (VVWD) Board of Directors has an extensive agenda for their meeting today, including a request from Board member Ted Miller to investigate the possibility of requesting the 2013 State Legislature to change the make-up of the Board itself. Miller wants all five Board members to be directly elected by residents.
Currently only two directors from Mesquite are on the ballot; one for a four-year term and one for a two-year term. The third director representing Mesquite is a City Councilperson appointed by the Mayor.
One representative from Bunkerville is appointed by members of the Bunkerville Town Board while the other is elected to a four-year term. (Corrected 8:30 am, Aug 7.)
The State Legislature established the current policy years ago and is the sole governing body that could effect a change.
A second agenda item dealing with the Board's operation will clarify the District's policy for Board members requesting items be placed on the agenda. Currents policy says that "any Board member shall have the right to place any matter on the agenda if a reasonable notice of seven days is given."
Two actions regarding asphalt road repairs are up for discussion at this afternoon's meeting.
The first one will award a contract for asphalt repairs on White Rock Road to Trade West for $5,250. According to the background material on the agenda item, Trade West was the only company to submit a bid for the job.
The second agenda item will seek bids for repairing areas of Sunset Road asphalt that were torn up during a recent water pipe break.
Warren Hardy, the government affairs lobbyist recently hired by the District, will report to the Board on meetings and progress he's made regarding coverage of the Water District under the Clark County Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan (MSHCP). The Board asked Hardy to investigate the possibility of having the District covered by the County MSHCP rather than continuing to develop a separate Virgin River Habitat Conservation and Recovery Plan with the City of Mesquite.
The Virgin River plan has been under development since 2007. On the other hand, the Clark County plan has been in existence since 2000.
The County plan requires developers to pay a $550 mitigation fee for each acre that's developed. All developers in Clark County pay that fee.
The City of Mesquite charges an additional $500 fee for each acre that's developed to help fund the Virgin River plan. The Water District passed a new ordinance fee last November that would require a third fee of $166 for each water hook-up on new development. The
three fees combined increase development costs around Mesquite by almost three times that paid in other areas of Clark County.
VVWD General Manager Ken Rock is requesting approval to travel to Washington D.C. "to meet with Congressmen, Senators, and others to relay our interests in a definitive USGS basin study and establishing and preserving our Virgin Mountain water access and rights for pipelines, power, roads, reservoirs, and treatment plants as necessary."
Rock has been pushing for a study of the amount of water available in Basin 222 that is the main source of water for the Mesquite and Bunkerville areas. The U.S. Geological Service has proposed a joint study that could help determine water levels in the basin.
See Mesquite Citizen Journal story VVWD Board Asks For Water Basin Study Proposal, Finalizes Budget
The District also has over 2,000 acre feet per year of water rights in the Nickel Creek area that's located in the Virgin Mountains south of Bunkerville. The area is included in a proposed National Conservation Area with Wilderness that, if approved by Congress, could severely limit the District's ability to reach that water source.
The Board of Directors will also consider approving an annual agreement with Water Quality & Treatment Solutions, INC. for technical support services to help Staff troubleshoot and optimize the District's groundwater treatment plants. The agreement will cost $10,000 for the year if approved.
The Directors will discuss approving a request by the attorney for Robert Coache to allow the sale of a house located in Las Vegas that is part of pending litigation in Clark County District Court. Coache is the former Deputy State Engineer, State of Nevada Division of Water Resources. He, along with the former General Manager Mike Winters and former Chief Hydrologist Michael Johnson, are charged with bribery and money laundering stemming from water right sales that they allegedly arranged.
Allegedly, Coache purchased the house with part of the bribery money. The Water District has a pending civil suit that seeks the return of some or all of the money. Thus the house is tied up in that. Coache must seek the District's approval in order to sell the property. The proposed purchase price for the property is $165,000 and a current appraisal indicates a value of $165,000.
The meeting begins at 5:00 pm at the District's Headquarters, located at 500 Riverside Road. It's open to the public.