Lompico Water’s board agreed by a 3-0 vote at a special meeting April 4 to borrow the money it would need to study three large storage tanks that need replacement and the proposed route of an intertie connecting the districts’ pipes.
SLV Water’s board of directors will vote on the loan at its April 19 meeting.
The loan would allow SLV Water to hire subcontractors on the smaller district’s behalf for:
- Soil boring and geotechnical investigations related to the replacement of three water tanks in Lompico.
- Surveying, including a map of the proposed intertie pipeline and preparation of easements for the property owners.
Lompico Water does not have enough cash on hand to pay for the studies and keep operations running smoothly. The district also does not have a manager who would manage projects such at the technical studies.
Lompico board members Rick Harrington, Bill Smallman and Lois Henry voted in favor of the loan. Sherwin Gott and Shannar Abraham were absent.
According to SLV Water District Manager Jim Mueller, the survey and soil investigations would address several questions asked by SLV Water’s directors about the potential consolidation, said.
“At this point, we’re trying to answer some unanswered questions,” Mueller said.
The cost of the intertie is a key issue, Mueller said. He said the district must also be able to secure the necessary easements before starting construction on the pipeline.
“It’s moving, and it’s slow,” Mueller said. “There’s a lot (of information) to gather and analyze.”
San Lorenzo Valley Water District presented Lompico Water’s directors with a $2.64 million plan in July 2010 that included such improvements as replacing the leaky tanks and building the intertie pipeline between the districts. Since then, the staff of the larger district has continued to study the possible merger.
Mueller said this week that the estimated cost was $2.5 million, but the planned geotechnical studies would clarify how much merging the districts would actually cost.
Using the results of those studies, SLV Water staff members would put together a follow-up proposal with more detailed information about easements and cost, Mueller said.
Most Lompico residents are in favor of joining SLV Water, according to a survey included in their water bills. Of the 44 percent of water users who returned the survey, about 87 percent approved of the merger, while 8 percent opposed it.
The cash-strapped Lompico district still must find a way to finance the merger, however. That would likely involve passing a bond, and the 500 Lompico Water customers would foot the bill themselves, according to SLV officials.
Directors Abraham and Gott, who were absent from the April 4 meeting, have been in the minority on many votes of the five-person board.
Abraham said by phone this week that he was out of town April 4 and was due to return the following Monday, April 9. He suggested that the meeting should have been held then.
“It was not urgent enough to do a special meeting that couldn’t wait a couple of days,” he said.
Abraham said SLV Water’s board was expected to vote on the proposal at its April 19 meeting, more than two weeks after the Lompico board’s special meeting.