EL CENTRO – Imperial Irrigation District Board President opened up Tuesday's, May 21, meeting with a statement concerning Assemblyman Chad Mayes' bill which proposed to add six seats, all filled with Riverside County residents, to the IID board.
Ortega mention that on May 16, the Assembly Appropriations Committee motioned to hold Assembly Bill 854, effectively making it now a 2-year bill. The motion stopped the bill from moving forward through the legislative process this year, but Assembly member Mayes reserves the right to move it next year, if he so chooses.
"The action taken by the Committee is welcomed news for the Imperial Irrigation District," said Ortega," and for our customers. As IID has said all along, this is a serious issue that requires comprehensive analysis and thorough deliberation at the local level."
Ortega said that the district will continued to sit with our state representatives, the Coachella Valley Water District and our customers, concerning electrical service in the Coachella Valley. The continued cooperation and dialogue is something that IID not only supports, but has committed to doing. Ortega added that the talks could be more productive without the threat of legislative action.
"To that end, I can report to you that I, along with IID Director Cardenas, our general manager and other staff, met with Assembly member Mayes here in our El Centro offices last Friday, (May 17). The meeting was productive and a good first step toward establishing open lines of communication between the parties," Ortega said.
Ortega promised to keep everyone updated about the process, meetings and developments.
Later, during board member comments, Ortega said it was really hard to know what to do with a gun to IID‘s head.
"I thank the legislature for removing the gun. Nevertheless, the divestment plan we gave to the general manager for direction to put together, that continues, until we have some type of agreement about the continued service and presence of the IID in the Coachella Valley."
Ortega said the IID needed to keep the option of divestment open, of selling off the districts' electrical business and capital infrastructure in Coachella Valley, as well as other plans.
"We continue until we can resolve this at the local level and decide if IID can continue to service the Coachella valley or not," said Ortega.