Voters to decide on new water district
The question of who will provide water for Donner Lake will be determined by Donner Lake residents in a vote in the next few weeks.
In a meeting Nov. 1, the Truckee Donner Public Utility District board moved forward with plans to request approval from the Town of Truckee and Placer County Board of Supervisors for the potential formation of a new assessment district that will provide water for Donner Lake residents.
A special assessment district is an area that receives service with an additional cost to pay for an improvement that will benefit the area. Whether or not Donner Lake residents wish Truckee Donner PUD to provide the service and the system improvements will be determined by a ballot. The ballots will be delivered by each of the customers of the water system.
“The PUD board cannot form an assessment district on its own. A major portion of the water system resides in the Town of Truckee and a small part of the water system resides in Placer County,” said Peter Holzmeister, general manager for Truckee-Donner PUD.
The Town of Truckee and the Placer County Board of Supervisors must approve the new assessment district if Truckee Donner PUD acquires the system from Del Oro Water Company, the parent company for Donner Lake Water Company.
The California Department of Health Services issued a boil water notice for residents of Donner Lake in June after concluding there was significant risk the water could become contaminated and cause illness.
Truckee Donner PUD board member Pat Sutton said she felt it was premature to request approval for the new assessment district without having financial information for each of the residents and businesses first.
“It’s too early to send anything without figures of cost,” she said.
Holzmeister said the measure was a procedural step, and that the next step would be to prepare a letter and ballot with the costs to Donner Lake residents.
“Should we postpone the step until financial data is ready, it would postpone the process further. We feel with the emergency water declaration and boil water notice there is urgency,” Holzmeister said.
Board member James A. Maass echoed Holzmeister, adding that the board is not taking any action that would affect the residents of Donner Lake without their approval.
“The bottom line whether or not this is going to happen is up to Donner Lake residents,” Maass said. “It’s presumptuous to say we’re going to look at it all and say yes or no. The residents will have all the legal information [in the ballot process] to make the decision.”
Donner Lake resident Kathy Kessler said that she felt the board should move forward with the process as fast as possible.
Holzmeister said the ballot to form the assessment district will be delivered to each of the homes at Donner Lake within the month.
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This story will be updated as more votes are counted. The results must be certified by Oct. 22.