The terms and conditions of the contract for the Trinitas annexation of 7,500 acres to the Oakdale Irrigation District was unanimously approved by the OID Board of Directors at the April 2 regular meeting.
Several months of negotiations between OID and Trinitas went into finalizing the contract. This agreement will also serve as the agreement for all pending annexations that have been approved by the OID board. Now that the contract has been approved by OID, it will go before LAFCO, and is expected to take about three months to process there. LAFCO will ensure that existing OID constituents won’t be impacted by the annexations.
OID General Manager Steve Knell reported that Trinitas will form a mutual water company that will have two diversions, one on the South Main Canal and one on the North Main Canal. The water company will bill its parcels and pay OID. Every March, OID and Trinitas will meet to discuss the hydrology of the area for planning purposes.
“We should be able to meet most of their needs most of the time,” Knell said.
He added that through negotiations, Trinitas will pay $55 per acre feet and pay an annual charge of $19.50 per acre, whether or not they receive water. Provisions in the contract state how conflicts will be handled and there is also a 1.5 percent escalator on the price per acre. Trinitas will pay the annexation fee of $2,600 per acre. OID will finance Trinitas at three percent over 20 years. All costs will be paid by Trinitas.
Trinitas will pay for out-of-district water this year. The company is making an $8 million investment in the project. OID director Frank Clark commented that this annexation is “a significant economic impact for our area” and added that he’s glad the company utilized Oakdale area businesses.
In other business, the board unanimously approved an agreement to release 40,000 acre feet of water at Goodwin Dam down the Stanislaus River to meet fish flows and for wildlife beneficial uses during the months of April and May. The river will obviously flow at a significantly higher level during this period. The agreement is between OID, South San Joaquin Irrigation District, California Department of Water Resources, and the Delta Mendota Water Authority. State and federal contractors will pay OID $100 per acre foot, resulting in revenues of about $4 million. SSJID will also release 40,000 acre feet.
Director Steve Webb commented that he wanted to make sure OID constituents were covered and also to make sure the water doesn’t spill at Tulloch in order to get the full electrical generation out of it.
Knell said that OID has “a lot of buffer” with about 30,000 acre feet of “cushion” at the meeting. He had earlier stated that this is because the newest DWR Snow Report for April (Bulletin120) showed a 90 percent exceedence (confidence) level for the Stanislaus regarding runoff from snow melt from April to July is 340,000 acre feet. New Melones inflow as of March 29 was 312,000 acre feet.
“Those two data sets make it look like total runoff this year will be around 652,000 acre feet for the water year,” he said. “That being the case, OID and SSJID should get the full entitlement. Last weekend’s precipitation will surely improve upon that number.”
In other business, the OID directors unanimously voted to donate $7,500 to the Oakdale FFA chapter to assist in their travel expenses to attend the FFA National Convention in Louisville, Ky. The FFA chapter has a goal of raising $30,000 for 17 members and advisors to attend. Prior to the OID award, they had fundraised about one-third of that amount. The FFA officers present, dressed in their uniforms, also delivered an Opening and Closing Ceremony for the board.
A presentation to the board was also delivered by Knell that showed the updates to the district’s Water Resources Plan on water use projections, land use, financial analysis, future water supplies, as well as a “report card” on what the district has accomplished from when it was first implemented and new challenges the district faces. Director Clark and Stanislaus Farm Bureau representative Tom Orvis each offered several comments on things they felt should be included in the language of the WRP. Orvis also commended OID for having a plan.
“It’s much easier to make changes as you go when you have a plan than to try to do it on the fly,” Orvis said.
The board was going to discuss water transfer prices going forward in closed session based on the recent data updates to the WRP.
Also in discussion, the board reviewed the costs of a buyout of the CalPERS retirement system for OID employees. Sustainability and escalating costs of CalPERS prompted the board to evaluate options and the impact. In 2012, the OID board ordered a resolution with intent to terminate the system in order to obtain a termination valuation. A vote on the topic will come before the board at the next regular meeting.
The next regular meeting of the OID Board of Directors will be at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 16 in the OID boardroom, 1205 East F. The next joint board meeting for the Tri-Dam Project will be at 9 a.m. on Thursday, April 18, also in the OID boardroom.