Changing of the guard at the PUD | SierraSun.com

Changing of the guard at the PUD

Paul Raymore

Tim Taylor and William Thomason took their new seats on the Truckee Donner Public Utility District’s board of directors Wednesday and quickly got their first taste of the district’s day-to-day business.Both rookie board members said that making sure the district board is accessible and receptive to the community was a top priority.Thomason suggested the district look into the possibility of televising the board meetings on local cable Channel 6, much like Truckee Town Council meetings are currently televised.”From my perspective, one of the things I talked about in my campaign was feeding back to the public, and [televising the meetings] would do a lot of that,” he said.Taylor agreed that televised board meetings might help customers get more in tune with what is going on at the district and said he hopes to be able to do his part to make sure “the board runs a little bit more in tune with the community.”After the oaths of office were administered to Taylor, Thomason and Joe Aguera, who won re-election, the board quickly elected Ron Hemig president and Joe Aguera vice president of the board.Once elections-related business was taken care of the new board made its way through a number of routine business items and also voted unanimously to declare 8.45 acres of district-owned land in the Hilltop area surplus, clearing the way for the district to sell the property.According to state law, the district must first offer the property to any public agencies interested in acquiring it before it can be sold to private owners. Proceeds from the sale of the property would go into the district’s Surplus Land Trust Fund which is used as a revolving fund to help finance water system improvements in the district.Truckee may soon get biomass generation plantIn other news, Scott Terrell, the district’s director of planning, announced partnership plans with the Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District and the U.S. Forest Service to build a small-scale 15 Kilowatt biomass generation plant in the Truckee River Regional Park.The biomass plant, which would burn forest slash and wood chips from nearby forestry projects to generate electricity, would serve as a demonstration project for the Public Renewable Partnership, a group of 15-20 public electric utilities throughout California.Terrell and Steve Randall with the Park District have been working recently to finalize details of the plant with town planners, and Terrell expects to get the approval to build the plant later this month. After that, the plant could be built and running by January, he said.”The potential benefit is huge,” Terrell said of the possibility of generating electricity from the large amounts of forest biomass generated by U.S. Forest Service thinning projects and programs like the Tahoe Donner free chipping service.”If we can take that resource and turn it into a benefit, it’s a win-win situation,” Terrell said.