By SUNNY LOCKWOOD
At their regular meeting Wednesday, Calaveras County Water District board members discussed two policies critical to district customers.
The board changed an existing policy on service quotes given out over the phone, while leaving a suspension-of-service policy alone.
The water and wastewater services quote policy affects people who are building a house and who call CCWD asking for a quote on how much it will cost them for service.
The board changed the policy, shortening the quote guarantee period from 180 to 60 days, and requiring that all development infrastructure be completed before a guaranteed service quote is issued.
The changes were unanimously approved by the three board members present. Chairman Jeff Davidson and Director Bertha Underhill were absent.
"Nobody I know of conducts business by giving out quotes that are good for six months," Director Don Deem said.
Director Fonceca agreed and gave CCWD staff a pat-on-the-back for the policy change. "This is a long time coming. Good job by staff."
Said CCWD's attorney, Alan Turner: "The 180-day guarantee quote gives me hives."
The second policy addressed is the suspension-of-service policy. "We've reviewed this thing at least 10 times," said CCWD Finance Director Julie McManus after the meeting, "and have tried to get (board) consensus on what elements of the policy need changing. They didn't give us any clear direction."
The suspension-of-service policy gives customers two years of grace should fire or other catastrophe destroy their home. During those two years, the customer is not billed. However, once the grace period ends, CCWD bills the customer a base rate of $45 a month for sewer service and $22 a month for water service even if the customer has not rebuilt the house and is not using the water or sewer service.
Most recently, Irving Gilgert asked the board for a break from the policy. Gilgert's Copperopolis duplex burned to the ground several years ago.