New BWD Board of Directors Start Work in November
Last updated 10/11/2018 at 2:06pm
BWD Board Members face many challenges during their tenure. We asked the two retiring Directors, the two current Directors, and the two incoming Directors their views on the duties and responsibilities going forward. Incoming Directors Dave Duncan and Kathy Dice ran unopposed for the November ballot, and they will be seated after the elections. Director Lyle Brecht also ran unopposed and chose to serve another 4-year term. Director Delahay chose not to comment. Their comments:
Beth Hart (retiring President) – Borrego is a unique community of generous citizens willing to spend their time and talents to insure a future for others. In the past, BWD Board members have set aside personal agendas and differences to work together to meet the significant challenges created by our financial position and an obligation to meet state regulations and our aging infrastructure. These difficult issues could not have been successfully addressed without the Community’s willingness to come along side, volunteer, and stand by the District.
No words can express our gratitude for that support. In the spirit of service, two new Board members, Kathy Dice and Dave Duncan, have stepped forward. Each brings professional abilities and experience, skills needed to navigate the demands of the GSP as well as infrastructure modernization. Today our future is bright - our financial position solid, the GSP in process, and our aging infrastructure replaced. While other issues will appear, they are not insurmountable given the tradition of service that is the hallmark of this Community.
Joe Tatusko (retiring Treasurer) – As to the question of what are the qualities of a good BWD Director, there is no right or wrong answer. If you look at the current BWD Director bio’s on the BWD website (www.bvgsp.org) and comments from the two new Directors, they are diverse – from education through professional experience. One common quality is service to the community!
Harry Ehrlich (current) – As a Director on the BWD Board for just under two years, it has been both a learning experience and a positive, challenging period working with the other four Directors, the General Manager, the staff, and our customers. I will miss the leadership and involvement of Directors Hart and Tatusko on the Board, but look forward to working closely with new Directors Dave Duncan and Kathy Dice.
There are many important issues facing the District and our community, most of which are founded on the groundwater supply review and development of the Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) along with its important elements. The GSP public review and input process will shape how the BWD Board and the County come to agreement on the GSP.
I am hopeful that increased participation by the public will build support for the final plan and its implementation policies. The financial stability of the District has improved, and we will need to be placing continued focus on building needed reserves and managing costs. We must also prepare for necessary capital improvement investments to reliably operate our water and wastewater systems into the future.
Lyle Brecht (current VP) – I became a director in December 2010. I learned then that the previous board had spent about $6,300,000 of the $6,500,000 in cash that the District had accumulated over the years. Also, the previous board promised to obligate an additional $7,000,000 in District revenues. The Board has spent the next 8-years to restore its creditworthiness. The District is actually in the public health business delivering potable water to Borrego’s homes and businesses. Having enough money and credit to keep its $62 million in water and sewer infrastructure in good condition is important to the economic health of the Borrego community.
The District Board now faces the requirements of California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). The objective is to bring our critically over drafted basin to sustainable usage. The Board’s objective for both maintaining its infrastructure and obtaining adequate potable water supply is to accomplish this at an affordable cost for Borrego’s ratepayers.
Dave Duncan (incoming) – As I look toward to being seated on the BWD Board in November, it is with tempered enthusiasm and cautious optimism. There is of course the fear of filling the proverbial big shoes. The current Board has done such good work under the leadership of Board President Hart. It will be a hard act to follow.
When I think about priorities, I’m not sure I can list them in any particular order. Of course the Groundwater Sustainability Plan is currently on the front burner. As is creating a governance structure that will manage the basin long term. I would hope that the district can expand its capacity for governance and assume a larger role in the future. I would prefer local rather than County control of our water resources.
I do have one guiding principle that I will always put first while serving on the Board: I have a fiduciary responsibility to the ratepayers to serve in its interest. I look forward to working collaboratively with the rest of the Board and being part of the team. Note: I recently gave up my position on the GSP Advisory Committee and am now on the County’s GSP Core Team.
Kathy Dice (incoming) – I expect to go to work learning what I do not yet know about the utility’s infrastructure and maintenance needs - in other words, the nuts and bolts of the operation that a Director is responsible for. As a retired Park Superintendent, I have budgeting, facility maintenance, and resource management experience. Now, as a 30-year community resident and ratepayer, I want to put my knowledge to work for the ultimate health and sustainability of Borrego Valley. I have been involved in Borrego aquifer issues for many years and understand how water is our vital resource and the key to Borrego’s future. My main interest in working with the Borrego Water District is wanting to be able to assist my community in transitioning to the new reality of the State-mandated Groundwater Sustainability Plan as it rolls out.