NID may lose $6M over two years |

NID may lose $6M over two years

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposal to balance the state budget could cost the Nevada Irrigation District $6 million over the next two years.

NID General Manager Ron Nelson said to replace that money the district could cut costs, dip into reserves and suspend projects. It would not directly result in higher water rates, Nelson said.

“We’re looking at other ways to bridge those two years,” Nelson said. If rates were to increase again next year, it would be to bring revenue in line with the costs of business. “That’s independent of this,” Nelson said.

Nelson said no layoffs would result from the revenue loss, “based on the numbers right now.” The $3 million a year NID estimates it would lose in fiscal periods 2004-05 and 2005-06, represents 40 percent of the district’s annual property tax revenues.

NID board members this week instructed Nelson to endorse Schwarzenegger’s plan to use special district money to backfill the state’s Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund. In exchange, the governor has said he would back off after two years and place no other unfunded mandates on small government entities.

Schwarzenegger has also said he will back a state ballot initiative to halt state raids on local government coffers, according to Jennifer Persike of the Association of California Water Agencies. That agency urged NID to back the deal with Schwarzenegger.

“There is short-term pain,” Persike said. “But we believe it is the best deal we’re going to get and we want the raid to end on local government revenue.”

“When we see the final results of the budget, we’ll do what we can do,” Nelson said. Schwarzenegger is expected to deliver his budget next Tuesday.

A call to the state Department of Finance for an update on the situation Thursday was not returned.

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