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IID Evaluates the Creation of An Environmental Department

-Editorial

The Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors (IID) adopted a resolution aimed at enhancing the district’s environmental stewardship through potential organizational restructuring during their July 2nd meeting. 

The resolution, spearheaded by Directors JB Hamby and Javier Gonzalez, alongside General Manager Jamie Asbury, underscores the district’s commitment to environmental leadership. This initiative stems from the Board’s adoption of Board Policy SD-10: Environmental Stewardship in May 2024, which mandates the district to uphold stringent environmental standards and foster sustainable practices across all operations.

Currently, environmentally related support services within IID are dispersed across various departments, lacking a centralized structure dedicated to addressing comprehensive environmental challenges. Recognizing the evolving landscape of environmental compliance and infrastructure project complexities, the Board aims to streamline these efforts by potentially forming a standalone Environment Department. This department would consolidate and coordinate the district’s environmental initiatives, thereby optimizing compliance processes and fostering specialized expertise crucial for navigating intricate regulatory frameworks.

The General Manager has been tasked with conducting a comprehensive evaluation of the proposed department, including its functions, organizational structure, staffing requirements, budget implications, and overall viability. The findings and recommendations will be presented in a detailed report to the Board, facilitating informed decision-making on this transformative initiative.

In other actions, the Board of Directors approved a resolution detailing health and welfare benefits for directors, effective July 20, 2024. 

The resolution, adopted following the guidelines outlined in Policy GP-10 and Ordinance 24-1, solidifies the framework for providing health and welfare benefits to directors in a manner consistent with those offered to hourly district employees. This action ensures that directors receive equitable benefits, including health coverage, retirement contributions, and life insurance, under terms and conditions identical to their hourly counterparts.

Under the approved resolution, directors will receive retirement benefits, including employer-matching contributions to the district retirement plan, structured by percentages akin to those granted to hourly employees. Additionally, directors serving two consecutive terms (eight years) and reaching the age of 55 during their tenure will be eligible for retiree health benefits, further enhancing the attractiveness of serving in these critical roles.

The resolution also includes provisions for an automobile stipend to facilitate district-related travel, aligning with standards set for county supervisors within Imperial County. This stipend will be subject to automatic adjustments in line with any changes made by the County of Imperial, ensuring parity in compensation practices.

Financially, the impact of extending these benefits to directors mirrors existing allocations for hourly employees, with minimal annual impact anticipated. Future adjustments to benefits for hourly staff will also be mirrored in directors’ benefits, barring specific exceptions outlined in the resolution.

“It important that your elected representatives are in good health, that’s why I will support this item,” IID Director Javier Gonzalez said. 

Street Lighting – Wireless Technology Attachment Rate Schedule

The District was informed by the City of Imperial that they have attached surveillance cameras and wireless internet devices to city-owned street lighting poles, resulting in energy consumption. Currently, IID does not have a billing rate schedule specific for such consumption. These unmetered devices are energized through a connection to the street light, with consumption ranging from 20 to 45 watts per device. In response to this request, the District, working with NewGen Strategies & Solutions, LLC, has developed a wireless technology attachment rate schedule. 

Staff requested the setting of public rate hearings, as required under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act adopted under IID Resolution No. 94-80, to present the proposed wireless technology attachment rate schedule. A 30-day notice will be provided to all electric retail customers, and staff is requesting the rate hearing date be set for August 6 in El Centro and August 20 in La Quinta. 

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