- Background on the delinquent groundwater charges
Although the district is technically owed nearly $400,000 in
delinquent groundwater charges, directors remain divided on whether
or not to pursue collecting it.
The four directors who attended the meeting were equally split
on whether they should send out educational materials (including a
timeline of district charges and legal decisions) and a letter
requesting for the payment of groundwater charges from 2007-08 and
2008-09. Since the vote ended in a tie, no letter will be sent
Directors Hugh Scanlon and Marden Wilbur, despite owing the
charges in question to the district, both contend they did not need
to recuse themselves from the vote.
The argument stems from a groundwater charge the previous board
adopted in 2007. The charge was validated as legal by a Sacramento
judge in July 2008 and the district billed constituents for 2007
charges in September 2008. Measure V, which restricted the
district’s right to levy fees in future years, passed in November
While the district could not levy charges from after 2009-10, it
is still owed more than $370,000 from 2007-08 and 2008-09,
according to court rulings. More than 70 percent of the people
billed for those two years have paid, Petersen said.
“I’m being pressed people in my district who paid the fee to
either return the money or pursue those who have not paid up,” he
The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers’ Association, which defended
constituents against the fee, wrote a letter to the district’s
legal firm in June 2009 saying it would not challenge the
collection or seek refund of the 2007-08 and 2008-09 groundwater
The district does not have the money to repay those who paid the
groundwater charge, Petersen said.
“That money has been spent on lawsuits against the charges or on
infrastructure,” he said.
Wilbur said to expect a legal fight if the board moves forward
in an attempt to collect.
“I know four people who would be ready to sue the minute you try
to collect,” he said.
— Jordan Guinn
Posted: Thursday, July 7, 2011 6:21 am
Updated: 12:12 pm, Fri Jul 8, 2011.
Bryan Pilkington may not be chairman of the North San Joaquin
Water Conservation District much longer.
After missing a second consecutive district meeting without
notifying directors he would be absent, the remaining four
directors voted 3-1 on Wednesday evening to consider appointing a
new chairman at the next meeting. Director Marden Wilbur voted
against the motion.
Thursday, July 7, 2011 6:21 am.
Updated: 12:12 pm.