NID hookup loan plan needs work |

NID hookup loan plan needs work

It has never been cheap to hook up to Nevada Irrigation District drinking water if you live in rural Nevada or Placer county, and that’s a point not lost on the water agency’s board of directors.

To make it easier, the board and staff have been looking at a loan program for prospective customers. But an opening proposal was rejected Wednesday by board members, who said it was too expensive and sounded like a money-maker, not a service.

NID Chief Engineer Tim McCall said the loan plan would be for neighborhoods and not developers. The idea was also spurred by neighborhoods who tried to set up improvement districts for water, “and it’s proved too diffcult,” McCall said.

McCall introduced a model involving 12 neighbors seeking individual loans for 75 percent of their costs for the project. They would put down $7,300 and finance another $21,900 at 6.5 percent interest, which is one percentage point more than the current prime rate charged to banks.

It did not take long for board members to take that model apart.

“I don’t think we have something we can sell if the upfront costs is the price of a well, which is about $10,000,” said Director Nancy Weber. Weber said the $7,300 down payment could easily rise with fees and engineering costs thrown in.

Weber said she went to several local banks and found home equity loans between 5.75 percent and 5.25 percent that could be used for a water hookup.

“For me, I would be better off financing outside NID,” Weber said. “My rate would be less, and I could deduct it off my income tax.”

“I’ve been an advocate for this program,” said Board of Directors member Scott Miller, “but on a short-term and at a very low interst rate. I’m hearing this as a way to make money and I’ve always felt we should be providing a service to the community.”

Miller said he would like to see loans at 4 to 5 percent and over 10 years. Miller said those kinds of loans helped him get through college and buy his first home.

With $20 million to $25 million in available reserve funds for a loan fund, Miller said NID has the power and ability to give loans to customers that truly need them for water access.

The staff was instructed to bring back a different scenario at a future meeting.

In other business:

• The board voted to ban camping and campfires in nondesignated areas of district land. “It prevents long-term camping and fire risk on NID property,” said Placer Office Administrator Peggy Davidson.

• Approved the relocation of a section of the Lincoln Canal with 1,500 feet of pipe to serve the new Lincoln Highlands Subdivision, which is within district boundaries.

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