By SUNNY LOCKWOOD
Calaveras County Water District will conduct two full-day strategic planning workshops the first time the agency has done so.
District directors hope the workshops, which will include public input, will result in not only better planning for the district, but also better understanding between the district and the public.
The workshops this month and next will be run by Gary Robbins of San Francisco-based Urban Alternatives.
"Both meetings will be public meetings because all members of the board will be there," said Jim Deaton, CCWD budget and finance director. "The first meeting will mainly be discussion among board and staff. At the second workshop, we'll encourage specific groups and individuals who have an interest in the district or the strategic items under discussion to comment on the plan."
At CCWD's board meeting Wednesday morning, General Manager John Stewart said, "We'll explain (to the public participants) the problems that led us to the strategic plan goals. The public may have some other views or ideas. I've found in the past that things are brought up that could be included in the plan."
Board President Jeff Davidson supported the public's involvement.
"It's an opportunity," he said. "It's a two-way street. Inevitably when I have a discussion, people bring up something that happened 10 years ago. So this will be an opportunity to put to rest many of the past problems."
Deaton said the first workshop will identify problems and produce a preliminary plan. After public response and input, the plan will be refined to include goals, action plans to meet the goals and funding sources.
"All this leads up to helping us set the budget," he said.
Stewart said the workshops would help CCWD define its mission and set goals consistent with that mission.
"The phrase I use is, 'defining who we are and what we stand for,'" he said.
"Out of this exercise can come strategies that are good for a great number of years. For example, one of the things that may be talked about would be re-entering the water rights and resources arenas. The benefit from that kind of move can be very long-term."