By MIKE MORRIS
The gap between the Calaveras County Water District and Utica Power Authority widened last night when the UPA board passed a resolution clearing the way for CCWD to withdraw from the power agency.
UPA founded in the mid-1990s by CCWD, Union Public Utility District in Murphys and the Angels Camp City Council began as a way to give local people control of their water. UPA supplies water to Angels Camp and Murphys.
"We all needed each other," said UPA Chairwoman and Angels Camp Mayor Debbie Ponte. "We now have a partner who wishes to withdraw."
CCWD President Jeff Davidson said the county's water customers are not benefiting from UPA, so they shouldn't have to help fund it.
"We have no users on the UPA system," he said. "It just doesn't make economic sense."
UPA won't fight the move. Instead the resolution passed last night clears the way for its staff and lawyers to take the steps necessary for withdrawal.
Davidson said UPA no longer needs financial help from CCWD, unlike in the past. CCWD loaned UPA $2 million when it was created. UPA also took a several million-dollar loan from a Chicago bank.
The money was used to construct two powerhouses, flumes and an Angels Camp office building.
About $700,000 of the loan has since been repaid to CCWD, leaving $1.3 million. There was debate at last night's UPA board meeting on whether the remaining sum will be paid back in 20 or 30 years.
While details on the split have yet to be ironed out, CCWD's desire to remove itself from UPA was apparent.
"We're moving forward," Ponte said. "There'll be a new look to UPUD and UPA."