With a new management firm taking over the reins of the Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District, the board no longer plans to meet once a month.
Starting in January, the board will meet every other month on the third Thursday.
Board member Ron Caldron said the board has less to do now that CH2M Hill is managing the district.
If needed, the board plans to hold special meetings.
“We are not going to hold a meeting if we don’t have things to vote on,” said board chairman Gary Lovetro.
In the past, board meetings have been the main source of information as the district established itself after breaking away from Brooke Utilities. Many residents of the small communities attended the meetings regularly to protest or support rate increases, new wells or board policies.
Lovetro said the board’s purpose is not to disseminate information, it is to vote and take action.
Lovetro asked the district’s new manager, Danny Stephens, to update the district’s Web site with new information not covered at meetings. He also suggested sending out a monthly mailer to keep residents informed.
The Roundup attempted to contact Stephens for this story, but he refused to comment and referred all questions to the district’s water attorney.
Stephens said he didn’t feel comfortable talking to the paper about the meeting or the Milk Ranch Well, an area of contention for many residents.
The PSWID has been shoveling money into the Milk Ranch Well for some time.
The district hopes after burning through several pumps and motors to finally purchase the well and get it online.
The board said it took some trial and error, but after 30 days of testing, they have determined they can pump at 85 gallons per minute. At that speed, the board believes the pump won’t need a filter if it is hooked to the system.
The district is now waiting on final engineering and hydrologist reports before making a final decision.
Some residents have complained that the district has pumped too much money into a well the district doesn’t even own. The district maintains those tests and improvements were needed.
One well not in dispute is the Strawberry Hollow Well (SH3), which was bought and put into the system last month. The district plans to make a few electrical modifications to the well, but overall it is working well, Lovetro said at the Dec. 16 board meeting.
With the SH3 well online, the board plans to shut down a few smaller wells, saving money.
Also at the meeting, the board decided to set a new policy for 501(c)(3) organizations. On a per client basis, the board will consider giving a break on the cost of installation.
If the board agrees, a nonprofit would only have to cover the cost of water and get the meter at cost.
This could provide a savings of roughly $2,000, said Mike Greer, who proposed the action.
“When we can give a little discount to charity that will also benefit the community, we should look at it,” Lovetro said.