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Splitting costs of tech services continues to divide IID board

March 14, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

The Imperial Irrigation District directors were divided Tuesday on how to split the cost of the district's information technology services, and there was a promise the fight will continue.

By a 3-2 vote the board approved a motion by Director Bruce Kuhn to have the power department pay 90 percent of all computer hardware and software costs and the water department pay 10 percent.

Director Lloyd Allen seconded Kuhn's motion and Director Rudy Maldonado joined in approving the 90/10 split.

Board President Andy Horne and Director Stella Mendoza cast the dissenting votes, with both stating the 90/10 split is not a fair division of costs.

Mendoza said she thinks a more fair split would be to have the power side pay 76 percent and the water side pay 24 percent.

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The board did not vote on amending the budget to include the new split. The board is to take action on amending the budget during its next meeting.

Mendoza said she will continue to push for a 76/24 split. She said she intends to fill the meeting with power consumers who will raise concerns about the 90/10 split. She said she will not call for the board to rethink that split but power customers will.

The debate over the computer costs was started by Kuhn during a meeting in February.

Kuhn said the board needed to reconsider the way it had divided the costs of the computer systems in this year's budget.

The total cost for computer systems in the budget is about $9 million, and the board split the cost 76/24, with power paying 76 percent.

Kuhn argued that was not the intent of the board in the late 1990s when it added new software known as SAP, which increased technology costs.

He said the board approved the SAP software with the idea the split would be 90/10. He said the idea was SAP was meant to benefit the power department more than the water department.

Kuhn in February made a motion he said was designed to again split technology costs 90/10. His motion passed 3-2. Mendoza and Horne voted against that motion.

However, Kuhn's motion actually meant the water side would pay less than 10 percent for the computer systems.

Kuhn said that was a mistake and asked that the issue be placed back on the agenda for Tuesday so he could make sure the split was 90/10.

Mendoza had said she was going to call for the 76/24 split at Tuesday's meeting but Kuhn made his motion first.

"It's not fair," she said of the 90/10 split.

Horne agreed, adding, "I think the cost allocation ought to be based on the actual expense incurred by each department."

Kuhn said in response to comments by Mendoza that she will bring consumers to the next meeting, saying "Stacking the boardroom with power users does not change the intent of the original vote."

He added, "She doesn't fully understand why we did what we did."

Kuhn added when the SAP system was added it was intended to help deal with power deregulation, and the only reason the board voted to bring in the system is the water and power departments agreed to a 90/10 split.

"This system would not exist if it were going to be financed 76/24," Kuhn said.

Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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