EID claims $12 million in savings

Debt restructuring part of ‘Plan B’ offered by district
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During their recent board meeting, the El Dorado Irrigation District board of directors heard from general manager Jim Abercrombie that the recent action taken to restructure a portion of the district’s debt has paid off. “We completed the process in about a month and saved $12 million for the district and our customers over the next three years,” Abercrombie said. “The restructuring was key to our ability to drop the proposed 2010 rate increase from 35 percent to 18 percent.” He said the restructuring was part of the revised plan pitched to the public earlier this year. “(It) is one of four actions we committed to in developing Plan B, the alternative to the original 2010 rate increase we proposed last November. Besides the debt restructuring, we also said we’d defer or eliminate capital improvement projects, where possible, to save cash. And we said we’d continue to seek higher prices for the hydroelectric power we generate through negotiations with buyers and more cost controls through negotiations with our employees’ union.” Abercrombie said two of the actions — the debt restructuring and deferral of capital improvement projects — are completed. “We hope to bring a new contract with the employees to the board for approval by March 29,” he sad. EID natural resources director David Witter said two AmeriCorps volunteers, Sara Kaner and Shelby Perry, are working with the district this year. Kaner, who studied natural resources and environmental education at the University of Minnesota , is a watershed and recreation assistant focusing on the regional watershed plan and helping to coordinate a volunteer program and recreation restoration at Sly Park Recreation Area. Perry, a recent graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in environmental engineering and a former Peace Corps volunteer, also works on implementing the watershed plan, including outreach, education, and water quality sampling. “Our first experience with the AmeriCorps program, in 2009, was very successful,” Witter said, “and we look forward to a great year in partnership with Sara and Shelby.” In related matters: · The board awarded an $894,000 construction contract to Doug Veerkamp General Engineering, Inc., a local firm, for the bridge replacement project at the district’s Deer Creek wastewater treatment plant. · The board approved a construction responsibility and reimbursement agreement between El Dorado County and the district for the Green Valley Road at Tennessee Creek bridge replacement project. The board will consider funding for EID’s share of the project at a future meeting. ~ Staff report