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CCWD to host water summit in January

The Calaveras County Water District announced Wednesday it will host a Federal Water Summit next month in San Andreas.

The summit, sponsored by U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-San Francisco, will focus on “water-centric forest management policies,” said CCWD General Manager Mitch Dion.

Included in the discussion will be a segment regarding “fact and fiction” surrounding this summer’s massive Rim Fire, the largest recorded wildfire in Sierra Nevada history.

“By managing the forest more proactively, we would hope to see the severity of a Rim Fire reduced,” Dion said. 

The Jan. 23 summit at the San Andreas Town Hall is expected to be attended by representatives from the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the Bureau of Land Management and Sierra Pacific Industries.

Mother Lode lawmaker Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Granite Bay, is also expected to speak at the event.

The summit is considered a workshop meeting, so the public can attend but not participate.

The summit is a result of a trip to Washington D.C. earlier this year in which Dion and CCWD directors Jeff Davidson and Bob Dean met with numerous legislators and federal agency officials to discuss water-related issues.

The CCWD Board of Directors had a full agenda Wednesday during their last meeting of the year. 

Along with announcing next month’s summit, directors:

• approved the Capital Improvement Program budget for this fiscal year. The largest water project involves replacing a 3.5-mile waterline in the Arnold area. The cost of that project is $3.3 million, divided by $1.65 million this fiscal year, ending June 30, and the other half in the 2014-15 fiscal year. Directors approved about $300,000 for design work related to the project. Construction on the first section of the project is anticipated to start in late spring. As for wastewater, the largest projects — totaling about $3 million — involve upgrading lift stations that serve two Copperopolis subdivisions, Poker Flat and Copper Cove.

• voted to no longer send courtesy billing statements to tenants and property managers. Instead, the district will only send water and sewer bills to property owners. CCWD staff said by billing both the property owner and tenant the district’s customer service representatives have found themselves involved in landlord and tenant issues. Additionally, staff said it costs the district up to an additional $20,000 a year to mail the duplicate bills. Following a lengthy discussion, directors voted 4-1, with Davidson opposed, to no longer send the extra bills. 

Property owners will continue to receive paper bills. Both owners and tenants can view their accounts and pay their bills online at www.ccwd.org.

• elected Scott Ratterman as president of the board and Davidson as vice president. The board set its next meeting for Jan. 15.

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