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Local water districts work to rezone border

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Posted: Friday, April 20, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 7:37 am, Fri Apr 20, 2012.

A narrow parcel of land sitting between Harney Lane and Eight Mile Road represents the border between the Woodbridge Irrigation District and the North San Joaquin Water Conservation District. But the border itself is a little blurry because the districts currently overlap.

A joint resolution between the two districts aims to resolve the border dispute and lower taxes for those residents. WID approved their part of the resolution at a board of directors meeting on Thursday morning.

About 400 acres, a blend of WID land and overlapping parcels, will be rezoned as WID land. NSJWCD will forfeit the small amount of land that belonged to both districts.

In the years before either district began charging a groundwater tax, the overlap did not pose a problem.

But complaints trickled in to the county when NSJWCD charged a groundwater tax in the early '90s. Some residents received two bills.

The Local Agency Formation Commission had received several complaints from residents who were taxed twice because their land was included in both districts. Growers that use surface water in the area already purchase it from WID, so it makes sense to move the land into solely that district.

Andy Christensen, district manager, said efforts to solve the problem began several years ago, but WID reached an impasse in negotiations with NSJWCD.

The process has taken so long because of the cost of reorganizing the districts, said Joe Petersen, president of the board of directors for the NSJWCD.

Action is happening now because LAFCO is urging both districts to come together for a solution, and WID will pick up most of the tab.

"If the NSJWCD passes their resolution, it shows what governments can do when they work together," he said.

The NSJWCD board of directors will consider the resolution at an April 30 meeting.

If the detachment and annexation resolutions pass, residents will pay a single $2 per acre charge.

Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at sarap@lodinews.com.

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