Taking advantage of what looks to be a dry year, the North San Joaquin Water Conservation District agreed to take extra time to consider several budget items instead of rushing their decisions.
The board tabled a proposed budget for 2012 for both a wet and dry year. Though a dry year seems likely based on current data, the board will know one way or the other within 30 days. The budget will be reviewed at the next regular meeting.
Director Mark Beck suggested using the approximately $54,000 of excess dry year funding to perfect the district's water right permit and complete repairs. "It's time to jump in to the perfection of our water right with both feet in a year like this," he said.
The district financial report was also tabled. A separate statement needs to be prepared for the Tracy Lake Improvement District.
Both will be prepared for the next regular meeting.
The preliminary draft of a municipal service review by the San Joaquin County Local Agency Formation Commission was tabled. Director Joe Valente will review who has the rights to issue a recharge fee on 482 acres outside of Micke Grove Park.
Added to the table list was a review of the district's state water rights permit. Jennifer Spaletta, an attorney with Herum-Crabtree who is working with the district on the permit, was not present.
The board did approve to keep Richard Best for monthly well testing in the district. Testing wells monitors the groundwater recharge efforts and allows the district to keep track of how much surface water is going into the water table.
President Joe Petersen outlined goals and priorities set in a study session on Feb. 16.
Securing the right to a firm water supply is at the top of the list. Without it, the district is very unlikely to be successful, said Petersen.
The next priority is a string of management tasks, including hiring a part-time office staff, and a Tracy Lake Project consultant.
The district set a water use plan. They will first sell water within the district, then within the local basin, before looking to outside water sales.
The final priority is to plan funding for the water use plan. Options include grants for repairs and special projects, a groundwater or assessment charge, and partnering with other districts.
Swaying the public on approving a groundwater charge will take work and time, said Petersen.
Petersen was pleased with the outcome of the meeting, despite tabling most of the agenda.
"I don't think this district has set goals and priorities in 20 years. This is a good start for 2012," he said.
Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at email@example.com.