Terry Thies: John Norton For NID Division 5
The classic purpose of any board of directors is to set policy for an organization. This is particularly important for an organization like NID as it is a utility monopoly with no other regulatory supervision other than its board. Without a professional, competent board, there is no external control over its goals, finances or rate structure. With only five board members, it is important that they are all financially savvy as well as understand its business model and the regulatory environment of the water community.
It became apparent to me after reviewing the newly released water supply and demand studies, hydrology report and proposed 2021 budget, that there are some real problems ahead for NID. Water sales only cover about 70% of production costs and are being subsidized by property taxes and transfers from the hydroelectric division. There is a lot of jockeying of funds and reserves going on to help shore up a financial model that is probably not sustainable. Already the agricultural community and Farm Bureau are lobbying for further rate subsidies and who is going to pay for that?
In my Division 5, John Norton is running against Rich Johansen. John has 28 years with the California State Water Board and understands the issues with NID, including the huge and financially challenged Centennial Dam project. John’s goals are straightforward. The board first needs to hire a new general manager who has a strong financial background. Secondly, the budget must be stabilized, and lastly a workable plan must be established to address NID’s aging and inefficient water delivery systems. John is clearly the better qualified candidate and carries no political baggage.
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