Norton named interim NID director |

Norton named interim NID director

Nevada Irrigation District directors appointed John Norton of Lake Wildwood as the interim Division 5 director, a seat vacated by George Leipzig last month.

Directors made their choice after hearing from six candidates. Norton is the only one who is not running for a permanent seat in the November elections.

Division 1 Director Nancy Weber, Chairman John Drew and Division 3 Director Scott Miller approved Norton as the neutral choice.

“Its really important for this board to stay as neutral as possible,” Drew said.

Miller originally expressed misgivings about appointing someone who would only “plug a hole” and said his first choice was to appoint Penn Valley rancher and health services manager Martin Harmon for a long-term commitment. He later was convinced to take the apolitical path presented by Drew. Paul Williams voted against Norton and echoed Miller’s primary concerns.

“I’ve seen a lot of directors come and go … I don’t like seeing a short-term person,” Williams said.

Norton moved to Nevada County in 2005 and retired from the state’s water resources control board after serving 28 years. He has sat on Lake Wildwood’s Lake Committee, is involved with Friends of Deer Creek and serves on the citizen advisory committee for the Nevada County’s sanitation district.

Voters in the Penn Valley area will decide who will replace Norton in November. Harmon is vying for the seat, along with Brad Fowler, owner of Goat Works; Nick Wilcox a former engineer for the state’s water control board; Jack Meeks, a longtime member of the board of education; and retired computer programmer Glenn Orren.

In other business, NID directors:

– Postponed the award of a construction contract for a major upgrade of the Elizabeth L. George Water Treatment Plant on Banner Mountain because of uncertainty in the state budget process and the impacts it could have on district finances.

– Approved a $193,720 engineering services contract with Sauers Engineering Inc. of Nevada City for the Rodeo Flat Road – Scooter Bug Lane waterline project.

– Approved a $240,192 contract with Baldoni Construction of Newcastle for asphalt pavement overlays at NID’s Grass Valley headquarters and the Lake Wildwood Water Treatment Plant.

– Heard an update on the water supply. The district is operating with 4,500 acre-feet less than last year and about 13,000 acre-feet below the 40-year average for this time of year.

To contact Staff Writer Laura Brown, e-mail or call 477-4231.

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