Power authority will assess members

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By SUNNY LOCKWOOD

Utica Power Authority will ask for $55,000 from each of its three member agencies, it was decided Thursday night.

In a brief meeting called to vote on the assessment, board members, Jeff Davidson and Charles Hebrard, representing Calaveras County Water District (CCWD), voted against the assessment.

The other four members Duane Oneto and Larry Thompson, representing Union Public Utility District, and Debbie Ponte and Kevin Raggio, representing the City of Angels Camp voted for the assessment.

The assessment, UPA says, is needed to rebuild flumes destroyed in last years Darby Fire, pay for a temporary overland pipe system and support UPAs operations.

When the Darby destroyed UPA water delivery flumes, the agency had to shut down two small powerhouses and launch the temporary system and eventually the flume rebuilding. The shutdown cost UPA income, leading to a drain on cash reserves. Without insurance payments and reimbursement checks from the state Office of Emergency Services, UPA was running out of money.

However, before Thursdays vote, Thompson announced that a check from the state Office of Emergency Services for $685,829 arrived, easing UPAs cash flow problems.

He also said that the UPA Personnel and Finance Committee earlier this week, determined it prudent to begin rebuilding reserves (depleted due to the fire) and came to the $55,000 assessment amount.

UPA Attorney Chris Williams said a simple majority vote could pass the assessment because the county is still in a state of emergency and the UPA is still trying to get water flowing through the flume system again. During the past month, the proposed assessment has been discussed by Angels Camp City Council, the CCWD board and the Union Public Utility District board. UPUD delivers water to Murphys, Vallecito, Douglas Flat and other nearby communities.

Angels Camp and the two water districts are the three member entities of UPA.

Thursdays 4-2 vote took only moments, and the meeting was adjourned.

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The Union Democrat
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