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Funds approved to complete transfer environmental process

February 16, 2002|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

The Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors voted to pay about $1 million to complete the environmental process associated with the IID/San Diego County Water Authority transfer.

The amount includes $985,000 for completion of the final environmental document, which will include comments to be submitted on the draft document out for public review.

The approved amount only includes half of a cost overrun — $287,375 — for the draft document, or $143,687.50.

As has become the norm on issues associated with transfer costs, the vote was 4-1, with board President Stella Mendoza voting "no."

The motion that was passed included language to ask the other water agencies — SDCWA, the Coachella Valley Water District and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California — to help pay certain costs.

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In a related matter, the board announced it will hold public workshops to explain the transfer's draft environmental impact report/environmental impact statement released two weeks ago. The workshops will be held in Brawley, El Centro and Calexico toward the end of February.

Three public hearings for the purpose of making formal comments on the draft EIR/EIS will be held by the Bureau of Reclamation. The first will be April 2 at IID headquarters in La Quinta, then April 3 at IID's El Centro auditorium and April 4 at the headquarters of the SDCWA. All of the hearings begin at 5 p.m.

In other matters, the board:

· approved $50,000 for local efforts to comply with the federal Clean Water Act's total maximum daily load water standard.

· voted 4-1 to keep interest earned in the public benefits charge fund in that account. Director Lloyd Allen voted to keep the money in the power department's general fund.

· accepted an interim process for dealing with personnel vacancies until district management develops the number of employees to be reduced under the efficiency study.

· voted to declare a parcel adjacent to Phil Swing Elementary School in Brawley as surplus, and pending soil sample results, will return the property to the school.

The board also delayed contributing money to the Imperial Valley College Foundation until the IID board receives additional information on how the money will be used, and delayed contributing money to the Water for the West Foundation until a firm date and location of an expected event are finalized.

>>Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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