Thumbs down given to paying for IID's radio system upgrades

July 20, 2001|By KELLY GRANT, Staff Writer

The Imperial Irrigation District Power Consumers Advisory Committee voted Thursday not to support paying for infrastructure upgrades to IID's radio system for use by local agencies.

The board also decided not to support paying for the relocation of two power poles in Coachella that are near a proposed site for a youth club.

The Imperial Valley Emergency Communication Authority proposed that IID allow its members, public safety, city and county agencies, use of its radio system. To accommodate IVECA, about $3 million in infrastructure upgrades would need to be added to IID's existing system.

IVECA, whose members say they cannot pay for the upgrades, asked IID to cover those costs while its members pay their portion of operation and maintenance costs thereafter.


During a meeting in June, the IID Board of Directors decided two of its members and General Manager Jesse Silva should meet with IVECA representatives to work out some of the project's sticking points, including funding.

IID staff presented a final recommendation to the PCAC on Thursday that IVECA be responsible for paying for or financing the system upgrade to protect IID and its customers from any financial liability.

Several PCAC members objected to IID customers, including customers in Imperial County and parts of Riverside and San Diego counties, having to pay for the service as it only benefits only those in Imperial County. Others expressed concern about IID's liability if the system were to fail.

PCAC members voted unanimously against the proposal.

Members also voted against IID paying for the cost to relocate two power poles from the proposed site of the Coachella Valley Boys and Girls Club's new facility in Coachella.

One existing pole stands three feet from the facility's proposed gymnasium. Ten feet is required to separate power poles from buildings. A second pole stands in the middle of a proposed cul de sac. The cost of moving the two poles is $342,436.69.

The IID board referred this issue to the PCAC for recommendation at its July 10 meeting.

Some PCAC members suggested the plans be redrawn to work around the existing poles, an option that would be significantly cheaper than the cost of moving the poles.

PCAC member Joey Acuña of Coachella was concerned that the club hadn't budgeted for the relocation of the poles itself.

Al McCandless, chairman of the Coachella Project Building Committee, was at Thursday's meeting and explained that unexpected costs in building the facility's foundation sapped the group of its extra money.

"That doesn't satisfy the situation, but it's an explanation," McCandless said.

Nonetheless, the PCAC voted 8-2 to not support the proposal to forgive the club the cost of relocating the poles. It will forward its recommendation to the IID board for a final decision.

In other business, the PCAC heard a report on IID's electric integrated resource plan and unanimously supported a few changes to its bylaws and charter. Those changes will be discussed by the IID board at its next meeting.

The PCAC next meets at 6 p.m. Aug. 16 in the IID board room in La Quinta.

Staff Writer Kelly Grant can be reached at 337-3441.

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