Measure I election update
6,159 ballots had been returned to the Yolo County Elections Office as of Tuesday afternoon
Ballots are due back to the Elections Office by March 5
Elections staff will start processing the votes Friday, when they begin opening the mailed ballots to be prepared for counting. The process can be viewed in person at the Elections Office in Room B05 of the County Administration Building, 625 Court St. in Woodland
Votes will not be counted until Election Day, March 5
It may have been a discount double-check, but Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency officials aren’t dancing in the end zone just yet.
Davis and Woodland city leaders flew to Washington, D.C., last week in an effort to lock down the remainder of a $16.7 million grant that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation promised the water agency last year to help fund construction of the surface water project.
Specifically, the $16.7 million would pay for about half of Reclamation District 2035’s 80 percent share of the $42 million intake facility on the Sacramento River. The agency already has received $8.3 million from the bureau for the plant.
Should the remaining $8.4 million from the feds fail to materialize, the cities of Davis and Woodland would be on the hook to pay the difference.
But Davis Mayor Joe Krovoza and Woodland Councilman Bill Marble, who held 17 separate meetings with congressional leaders and other federal agencies over the course of their trip, returned confident that the funding will be there.
“The meetings were very positive,” Krovoza said in a Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency news release. “We continue to receive support for the intake funding, which is very encouraging given the importance of federal funding to reduce project costs to our community.
“We’re confident there is a commitment at the federal level to ensure (the) funding for the intake.”
The Woodland-Davis water agency, which has partnered with RD 2035 to build the plant, already has budgeted the potential grant funding into the overall cost of the surface water project, which has been estimated at $245 million, with Davis carrying $113 million of that total.
The grant funding for the intake facility comes through the Central Valley Project Restoration Fund, which allocates funds to projects that restore habitats for fish and other wildlife.
RD 2035’s existing intake is the largest unscreened facility on the Sacramento River north of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, making the 100-year-old plant the top candidate to receive the funds, according to water agency officials.
The Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency project, which the Davis City Council has put up for a public vote called Measure I, would pump water from the Sacramento River through that intake facility, treat the water and then pipe it to Davis and Woodland to replace each city’s dependence on ground well systems.
Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, whom Krovoza and Marble met with at the Capitol, said in a statement that the entire region would benefit from an upgrade to the plant.
“Although the federal budget is constrained, our economy is ultimately strengthened when we invest in critical infrastructure like this improved water intake facility,” Garamendi said. “I want to thank local officials in Davis and Woodland for aggressively pursuing this vital funding. We need to protect the health of the delta to sustain jobs and livelihoods, and the fish screen program is an important piece of the puzzle.”
Meanwhile, the agency still expects the state of California to match the federal funds for the intake facility with $16.7 million of its own.
And while those funds haven’t yet come down the pipeline, Dennis Diemer, general manager of the WDCWA, says based on the state’s track record, he’s confident that money will be made available.
“They’ve always come up with the money in previous screening projects like this one,” Diemer said Tuesday. “And they’ve given us a letter saying that they support the program and intend to come up with their (share).”
Diemer added that the agency continues to lobby for state and federal funds to help pay for other aspects of the project as well.
In addition to Garamendi, Marble and Krovoza met with representatives of the offices of Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento; Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove; Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale; Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Granite Bay; Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena; and Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock.
They also met with representatives of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Environment and Public Works Committee, the House Energy & Water Development Subcommittee and the Office of Management and Budget.
— Reach Tom Sakash at [email protected] or 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @TomSakash