Five seek seats with water district

Rates, water quality and compensation are among issues discussed by candidates for Mesa Consolidated Water District.

October 29, 2010|By Sarah Peters,

COSTA MESA — On Tuesday, after voters have waded through the options for state, county and city offices, low down on the ballot they'll cast their choice for two division seats on the Mesa Consolidated Water District Board of Directors.

The race includes incumbents Shawn Dewane, board president and Division 5 representative, and James Fisler, board vice president and Division 2 representative. Also running are tax professional Peter Meuter, former Costa Mesa Sanitary District Director Dan Worthington, and former Estancia High School teacher Art Perry.

"The reason why most people never think of the district is because it works," said Dewane, who was elected to the board in 2005 and appointed president in 2009.


If reelected, Dewane aims to continue pushing toward securing a AAA credit rating for the water district, which would translate into long-term savings for ratepayers, he said.

And keeping rates low is part of the overall mission of Mesa Water, Dewane said.

However, opponents say that the board has raised, not lowered, water rates over the last five years, and have questioned where those funds are going.

Water rates have increased from $0.0027 per gallon in 2006 to the current rate of $0.0036 per gallon, according to water district data.

"The issue here is the same with any other corporation or public entity," Division 5 candidate Meuter said. "They're not looking after the budget."

On Meuter's campaign web page, he asserts increases in water rates and funds to Electronic Records Management and Information System Maintenance and Support.

Meuter said that there are other areas that may point to funds' mismanagement, but he said that he did not have all the necessary information as of this week to be certain.

When asked about the rate and budget increases, Dewane said that "the rate increase assists in improving the district's credit rating, which will save Mesa Water customers millions of dollars in interest expense."

Secondly, the rates allow Mesa Water to "continually renew and maintain our aging water infrastructure in a timely manner for best water quality and water service reliability," Dewane said. "In sum, these rates are fiscally and socially responsible in order to effectively and efficiently ensure that our water is affordable, available, and of the highest possible quality."

While also concerned with district's financial management, Division 2 candidate Worthington said he concerned by annual compensation paid to board members.

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