Donner Lake homeowners wait for vote |

Donner Lake homeowners wait for vote

The fate of the Truckee Donner Public Utility District’s involvement with Donner Lake water services will be decided by a ballot which will be mailed to lake property owners in the near future.

Drinking water from Donner Lake was officially declared unsafe by the State Department of Health Services when the regulatory agency discovered water outages and low pressure in the system increased the risk of contamination.

In June 2000 the agency declared a water emergency and mandated a boil water notice which is still in effect more than six months later.

Residents dissatisfied with Donner Lake Water Co., the current purveyor of the water system, approached the PUD and asked them to take over the system.

Currently both Donner Lake Water Co. and the Truckee Donner Public Utility District are investigating plans to provide potable water to Donner Lake residents.

The Donner Lake Citizens Group for Drinking Water has been meeting with Peter Holzmeister, general manager for the public utility district, to review the proposed special assessment district, the portion of the ballot that will state what each property owner will be required to pay if the PUD becomes the purveyor of the water system.

Donner Lake Water Co. spokeswoman Karin Caves said residents will have to pay more money if the PUD takes over the system because they will have to pay for the acquisition of water rights.

Holzmeister asserts the cost for the PUD’s plan will be similar to plans by Donner Lake Water Co. in the long run.

As a public entity that currently provides water to other residences in the Truckee area, the PUD has access to funds which aren’t available to private entities, and may draw ground water to supply Donner Lake residents as opposed to taking water from Donner Lake.

“The ballots are in draft form and reside with the assessment district engineer,” Holzmeister said Tuesday. “The ballots will be mailed to the legal residence of the homeowners.”

People will have 45 days to complete the ballot, but no one was able to yet say when the ballots will be delivered.

Holzmeister said the annual cost for each piece of property will be determined by usage.

“Kristin Lowell from Terrance E. Lowell and Associates in Roseville is drafting the assessment district,” he said.

Drafting of the assessment district may still take several weeks to complete.

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