In response to the State lifting mandated conservation percentages, the YLWD Board of Directors voted unanimously to enter Stage 1 of the District’s Conservation Ordinance. The move to Stage 1 allows customers to water three days a week. Filling of swimming pools is no longer prohibited.
With the State turning back control to the local water providers, the District quickly moved to let customers use more water, just in time for the warm summer months. The three day watering schedule supports the Governor's Executive OrderB-37-16 "Making Water Conservation a Way of Life" and runs parallel with Metropolitan Water District of Southern California's Condition 2 – Water Supply Alert.
YLWD Customers responded heroically to the calls for conservation during the past year exceeding the 36% mandated reduction from the State. While the drought is not over, conditions have improved in parts of the State and Metropolitan has a more than three year supply in storage.
Effective immediately, odd numbered addresses may irrigate on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and even numbered addresses can irrigate Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Permanent watering restrictions, including no washing down of hard or paved surfaces and no automated watering between the hours of 9:00 am and 6:00 pm remain in place.
The Yorba Linda Water District Board of Directors voted unanimously to suspend administrative penalties on customer billings beginning in June. The decision comes after the State Water Resources Control Board granted the District an 8% credit toward its 36% conservation mandate. To date, YLWD customers have exceeded the 36% target.
The Board adopted a new ordinance giving them the ability to reinstate penalties to varying degrees if the District falls out of compliance with the State regulations.
“We never wanted to do this in the first place,” said Director Gary Melton. “Our customers have done an amazing job conserving and we’re in good standing with the State Board, so I don’t see any reason to continue to penalize our ratepayers.”
Board President, Ric Collett warned though, that lifting the penalties isn’t a green light to go back to old watering habits.
“We need to continue to conserve,” Collett said. “Our customers are smart. They know the drought is not over. They’ve done the right thing and will continue to do so. As long as we continue to meet our conservation mandate, we won’t need the penalties.”
Since the beginning of the original Emergency Drought Regulation, Yorba Linda Water District customers have exceeded the state’s 36% conservation mandate from June 2015 through February 2016. The Drought Emergency Declaration has since been extended through October 31st, but the District successfully lobbied the State Board for a reduced conservation standard. Credits were granted for investments made in sustainable supply for the Ground Water Replenishment System and for population growth. The District’s new conservation mandate is 28%.
The YLWD Board voted unanimously to pursue the option of refunding the District’s 2008 Certificates of Participation (COP's). Due to current municipal bond market conditions, there is an opportunity for the District to refinance the remainder of the life of the debt associated with the 2008 COP. The amount of savings is dependent on the interest rates in effect at the time of refunding.
“This is an opportunity for us to take advantage of the current market and potentially save approximately $7 Million over the next 23 years based on the estimates presented,” said Board President Ric Collett. “We’re fortunate that we have the bond ratings to allow us the ability to take advantage of these potential cash savings for our customers.”
After consideration and approval to pursue the refunding option, the next step is to engage bond counsel and assemble the financing team. The entire process of this refunding opportunity will be completed by April 20, 2016.
The Special District Leadership Foundation (SDLF) has recognized YLWD as a “District of Distinction.” The District of Distinction recognition is awarded to districts that display achievements in the areas of governance, transparency, finances, and board conduct.
District of Distinction recognition is among California’s most prestigious government honors. SDLF carefully evaluates District of Distinction status every two years to ensure continued dedication to maintaining standards of excellence in financial audits, policies and procedures, and training received by directors and executive staff.
SDLF also presented YLWD with the District Transparency Certificate of Excellence. The certificate program, achievement of which is a District of Distinction prerequisite, promotes transparency in the operations and governance of special districts. Eligibility is established by completing certain requirements such as conducting ethics training for all board members, filing financial transactions and compensation reports to the State Controller in a timely manner, and maintaining website requirements intended to readily provide information to the public like board agendas, board meeting minutes, the current budget, and the most recent financial audit.
“Public agencies throughout the state are challenged with practicing responsible fiscal management and governance in an increasingly complex and heavily regulated environment, which is no small task,” said GM Marc Marcantonio. “Being named a District of Distinction demonstrates to our ratepayers that YLWD practices sound fiscal management and embraces transparent policies throughout all areas of district operations.”
Due to the expeditious certification of the referendum petition by The Orange County Registrar of Voters, the District is holding a Special Board Meeting on Thursday November 5, 2015, at the District’s offices at 1717 E. Miraloma Ave., Placentia, to address the referendum in a more timely manner. The meeting will be held at 6:00 PM to better accommodate the public who wish to attend.