Burney Water Board passes 2018-2019 budget, discusses parks, water safety, and other issues

At their regular monthly meeting on Thursday July 19th The Burney Water District Board passed the 2018-2019 budget and discussed various local issues.

BWD members Tanya Taylor, Fred Ryness, Roger Borkey, Britta Rogers, and Jim Hamlin

Board President Fred Ryness, Vice President Jim Hamlin, and Directors Tanya Taylor, Roger Borkey, and Britta Rogers were present. District Manager Willie Rodriguez and Pool Manager Stephanie McQuade also attended.

The main item on the agenda was review and passage of the 2018-2019 budget. The budget is divided into three areas: water, sewer, and pool.

For water, total revenues are expected to be $701,000, total labor expenses $291,500, and total general expenses $518,500 for a net loss of $109,000. The deficit is due to depreciation expenses of $109,000.

For sewer, total revenues are expected to be $656,000, total labor expenses $286,500 and total general expenses $484,400, for a net loss of $114,900. Once again, the loss is due primarily to a depreciation expense of $115,000.

For pool, total revenues are expected to be $126,500, total labor expenses 58,150, and total general expenses 68,350 resulting in a balance of zero.

District Manager Rodriquez said that revenues from water fees are down due to decreased water usage by BWD residential customers. It appears that the water use restrictions imposed during the drought have affected people’s use. After the restrictions were lifted, people have not raised their watering back to prior levels.

The budget was passed unanimously. The full budget is available for the public to review at the Burney Water District office.

During the Public Speakers portion of the meeting Lola Harris commented that she was concerned that the lawns at Washburn Park were not being watered or mowed. She was concerned about fire hazard and that the grass could die. Rodriquez explained that there were sprinkler problems that would be addressed and said that watering would begin within seven days.

The Board further discussed overall issues relating to parks in Burney including Washburn, Lions, and Bailey Parks. Rodriguez said that he attended a stakeholders meeting which included owners and users of the parks. Among those included were representatives of BWD, the Fall River Joint Unified School District, Tri County Community Network, the Lions Club, and Little League. This meeting was the first of a series of proposed meetings.

The purpose of the meetings will be to discuss the situation of the parks in Burney and to explore models and strategies for long-term maintenance and increased usage. It is hoped once the specific and concrete needs of the parks – including maintenance, manpower, insurance, etc. – are assessed, there will be a general town meeting at which individuals and organizations can discuss what they want, how best to achieve that, and what they are willing to do to help.

On other topics, Fred Ryness raised two issues. The first concerned pool fees for commercial BWD customers. Rodriguez explained how the fees were assessed by meter and that commercial customers could receive pool passes in return for fee payment.

The other topic concerned low water pressure in Las Colinas Mobile Home Park. Ryness said that water pressure within the park was very low and he was concerned whether there might be a resulting public health risk. Rodriguez said that water supplied to the main meter at the park was safe and of adequate pressure. Water distribution, flow and metering within the park was the responsibility of the park itself. He said that he would do his best to check into it, but that if there were a problem within the park, that would not be under BWD jurisdiction and concerns should be reported to the health department.

During the Pool Manager’s Report, Rodriguez said that some customers had reported that rumors were going around that Burney Creek was polluted with high levels of E. coli bacteria and that BWD sewage overflows or spillage might be responsible. Rodriguez informed the board that he checked all possible locations at which overflow or spillage might occur and found no problem. As an additional precaution he had BWD water supply tested at several locations and found 0% E. coli. BWD water is safe and the sewage system is intact.

Rodriguez also said that he had heard of no reports of symptoms that may have been caused by E. coli from anyone swimming in the creek. He has no way of gauging the presence of E. coli in the water in Burney Creek and he doesn’t know the source of the rumor or their reliability. He said that he will check with other organizations such as the environmental officers of the Pit River Tribe to see if they have any information concerning the matter.

In her report, Stephanie McQuade said that pool attendance has been good this summer. There have been no major problems and what minor issues have arisen have been dealt with as they arose. Top Hat Energy has installed the solar panels, work on the interface with PG&E and necessary paperwork is progressing, so the solar electric system should be operational this August. Ms. McQuade said that the closing date for the pool this year would be August 31.

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