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OID Raises Annexation Fees
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The Oakdale Irrigation District Board of Directors voted unanimously at the June 2 regular meeting to raise annexation fees in the district by using a Book Value formula that amounts to $2,677.32 per acre. The annexation fee is currently $360 per acre, which General Manager Steve Knell called “fully inadequate.”

OID staff presented the board with the options of using a Net Asset (less accumulated depreciation) formula at $2,314.72 per acre or the Book Value (inclusive of depreciation) formula at over $2,600 per acre. Payback will be over the course of 10 years.

Director Jack Alpers asked for comments from the board about the annexation fee increase.

“It’s about time,” responded director Frank Clark.

“2,600 (dollars) is cheap, I think, for the value of the district,” Alpers added.

Director Al Bairos commented that he felt either formula at $2,300 or $2,600 per acre was “very cheap” to enter the district.

It was reported in minutes from closed session at the May 19 meeting that the board unanimously authorized a water transfer (sale) agreement with the San Luis Delta Mendota Canal Water Authority for a one-year contract. Directors Steve Webb Tony and Taro were absent from that meeting.

Knell said that this Ag-to-Ag water transfer will go to the Westside farmers with permanent crops at a cost of $250 per acre foot for 10,000 acre feet of water. He added that the amount was tied to an allocation from the federal government and that the Westside interests had a 10 percent allocation. Knell said that five Eastside irrigation districts will send 55,000 acre feet to the Westside. He said that South San Joaquin Irrigation District (SSJID) is transferring 25,000 acre feet, Merced Irrigation District will send water, and Modesto and Turlock Irrigation Districts are currently “figuring out” what they’re going to do. Knell said Oakdale’s water will be delivered at the end of June or early July.

In the General Manager’s report, Knell said that the Knights Ferry water rights trial court date of June 1 was cancelled at the judge’s request and was rescheduled for June 10 from 10 a.m. to 4p.m. He said that the judge had a list of questions and those questions will be answered at that court date.

Also in Knell’s report, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has or will issue a “jeopardy opinion” on outmigration salmon. The opinion is to establish a water flow requirement at Vernalis. Knell said that at this time there are only two places that the water can come from: New Melones or San Luis Reservoir. Being that San Luis Reservoir is only 29 percent full and Melones is at or over 50 percent, it’s likely the federal government will go after the Melones water. Knell said that there is not enough water to satisfy the jeopardy opinion. He added that all that NMFS has to do is say that the conditions of the Endangered Species Act are not being met for the salmon and the federal government is required by law to respond. He said it will put pressure on all irrigation districts once the “feds” run out of water. Legal action of some sort is expected.

In director’s reports, Clark said that the field has been narrowed to two candidates for the General Manager position at Tri Dam. Clark and director Webb both concurred that they felt both candidates were good selections.

In other business, the board cancelled the June 16 regular meeting due to not having a quorum. The meeting was rescheduled to take place on Tuesday, June 23 at 9 a.m. in the OID boardroom, 1205 East F.