Sonora, CA — After discussing whether spending $63,000 is a worthwhile investment, the T.U.D. Board of Directors voted to move forward and fund a feasibility study for a new water reservoir near the district’s Sierra Pines property.
Board member Jim Grinnell questioned staff members if there was a way for the study to end early, and be less expensive, if a major project hurdle was discovered during the early stages of the review. General Manager Tom Haglund indicated it would be difficult to know when discouraging information could come to light, whether it be at the $30,000 mark, $45,000 mark, etc.
Board member Ron Kopf acknowledged that $63,000 is a notable investment, but stated, “We’ve got to look at this and be able to put enough information together on it to determine what the cost is…and then analyze it with the other components we are looking at to see where we best spend the money to protect the system down the road. So, I’m in favor of moving forward with this at this time.”
Board member Ron Ringen added, “We’ve put so much time and effort into this that I think it is time for us to figure out whether it will work or not.”
The vote was 5-0 to approve a contract with GEI consultants to conduct the study. The maximum capacity of the reservoir would be around 350-800 acre ft., and it would be utilized as an emergency water source. Meeting documents indicate that the cost to build the reservoir, if the district moves forward, could exceed $20-million.
Also of note, this week the oath of office was given to new board members Barbara Balen, Bob Rucker and Kopf. The three were victorious during November’s election.
At the end of the meeting, Kopf was elected board chair for 2017. The vote was 3-2 with Jim Grinnell, Rucker and Kopf in favor and Balen and Ringen opposed. Balen was unanimously selected to serve as vice chair.