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Davis, Woodland leaders reach agreement on cost-sharing for water project

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From page A1 | November 25, 2012 |

Davis and Woodland city leaders have reached a tentative agreement on new cost-sharing percentages for the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency project, reducing the price tag to the city of Davis by about $13 million.

The surface water project will pump water from the Sacramento River, treat it and pipe it to both cities to replace their reliance on ground water.

With the new agreement, the surface water project is estimated to cost Davis $103 million.

Each city will pay off the project by raising rates charged to its water customers. Woodland ratepayers already have approved the rates; Davis will send out Proposition 218 notices in January outlining the proposed rate hike.

The terms of the new contract also must be approved by the city councils in both Davis and Woodland. The Davis City Council will discuss the agreement at its meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Community Chambers at City Hall, 23 Russell Blvd.

In August, the Davis Water Advisory Committee had determined that Woodland wasn’t paying an equitable share of the project and that the city of Davis should pursue the joint project only if Woodland was willing to renegotiate the original Joint Powers Authority deal that the two cities signed in 2009.

The project originally was sized at 40 million gallons of water per day, with Woodland receiving a maximum of 22 mgd and Davis 18 mgd of that total.

But the water committee figured that the project needed to provide only 30 mgd of water per day, where Woodland would receive 18 and Davis 12 mgd. That changed the percentage use of the project from 54-46 to 60-40 by Woodland and Davis, respectively.

Davis Mayor Pro Tem Dan Wolk and Councilwoman Rochelle Swanson met with Woodland Mayor Skip Davies and Councilman Bill Marble several times over the past few months to work out a new deal based on those numbers.

The two sides finally agreed that each city would share all non-consumption-based costs 50-50 and all consumption-based costs 60-40 between Woodland and Davis, respectively.

Then, Woodland agreed to pay for part of the Woodland-Davis treated water pipeline to Davis, a segment of the pipe worth about $3 million.

“We feel that this is a good and amicable resolution and we appreciate Woodland’s willingness to re-examine the cost allocation,” Wolk and Swanson said in a joint statement. “As we have said before, this project is critical to the future of our community — of both our communities. This agreement represents a significant step in achieving that goal.”

The Woodland City Council met Tuesday after the tentative deal was reached, but the group did not formally vote on the changes to the agreement.

Several members did express support for the changes, however.

Marble said that while he wants to protect the ratepayers of Woodland who already have approved the rates necessary to pay off the project, he understands some of the cost allocations weren’t completely equitable.

“Those costs that are strictly tied to capacity; we ought to pay our share of that capacity, and I think we believe that,” Marble said. “We hope the council is supportive of the general concepts we’ve discussed.”

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Learn more

What: Davis City Council meeting

When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Community Chambers, Davis City Hall

Watch it: Live on City Government Channel 16 on Comcast and on AT&T U-Verse Channel 99

At its last meeting, Davis council members had said that if the negotiations with Woodland did not go as well as they had hoped, they could possibly halt the public vote in March.

The council approved binding measure ballot language on Nov. 13 to send to the county for preparation for the vote.

If the council does not object to the new terms, it will simply let the process play out. The Yolo County Board of Supervisors must approve the vote in December and then the county clerk’s office will prepare the ballot for the all-mail election on March 5. Davis voters will be asked whether they give permission to the City Council to move forward with the Woodland-Davis water project.

— Reach Tom Sakash at tsakash@davisenterprise.net or (530) 747-8057. Follow him on Twitter @TomSakash

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Tom Sakash

Tom Sakash covers the city beat for The Davis Enterprise. Reach him at tsakash@davisenterprise.net, (530) 747-8057 or @TomSakash.
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