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Guest column by Ted Costa–
In the early 1950’s, when Folsom Dam was being built, it became necessary to build a treatment plant to serve eastern Sacramento with American River water. The Legislature then formed the first Community Services District — the San Juan Water District – to succeed and replace the North Fork Ditch Company, which had provided water supplies to the area for the prior 100 years.
As the wholesale water provider for most of the City of Citrus Heights, we at San Juan are committed to protecting the water rights, contracts, and entitlements we own and use to provide clean, safe, reliable water supplies to your homes and businesses through our customer agencies: which include, in addition to the Citrus Heights Water District, Fair Oaks Water District, the Orangevale Water Company, the City of Folsom (Ashland service area), and San Juan’s retail division.
The surface water supplies we treat and deliver come from Folsom Reservoir. Our treatment processes produce some of the best water in the world, as we describe for you in our annual water quality reports.
San Juan delivers water to both its retail and wholesale customers at the lowest prices. In fact, we can’t find lower-priced wholesale water anywhere in the state.
Citrus Heights voters have been choosing representatives to San Juan’s Board of Directors since 1954 in at-large elections, which allow anyone residing in San Juan’s wholesale service area to run for any of the five Board seats, and allow any voter in the service area to cast a vote for any candidate on the ballot. Two of San Juan’s board seats are on the ballot this fall and the other three will be on the ballot in November, 2022.
Now, the Legislature has mandated that all California cities, school districts, and water districts use district-based elections to elect directors, or face expensive litigation. The City of Citrus Heights, San Juan School District, Fair Oaks Water District, and Citrus Heights Water District are all in the process of changing to district elections, or have recently done so.
On May 13, San Juan’s Board of Directors adopted a resolution to initiate the establishment of five geographic electoral divisions, which will become effective starting with the November 2022 Board election. Over the next six months, San Juan will hold four public hearings between June and the end of October to receive input from the public on how the boundaries for these divisions should be drawn.
Setting up divisions properly is a complicated matter, and San Juan is going to take the time that as much as is needed to do this right. The schedule San Juan is following is similar to the one followed by the City of Citrus Heights during its 2018 process of transitioning to district-based elections, and is actually faster than the process Fair Oaks Water District used for its transition to fully division-based elections earlier this year. Citrus Heights Water District is also in the process of transitioning to fully division-based elections, and its process is scheduled for more than five months.
San Juan Water District invites all residents in its wholesale service area to participate in this process and help define the five new geographic divisions for San Juan’s Board of Directors. For more information about this process and how to participate, visit: www.sjwd.org/transitioning-to-division-based-elections.
TedCostais a longtime resident of Citrus Heights and is President of the San Juan Water District Board of Directors.
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