Lebec Water Board Votes On Management Contract

Election for New Board Is Nov. 8

By Patric Hedlund

The Lebec County Water District (LCWD) voted Tuesday, Oct. 18 to engage APTwater Services, LLC in a five year contract to manage and maintain their district. The vote was 3 to 1. Julie McWhorter, who is campaigning for reelection, said she thought the current board should wait to let a new board make the decision. But a 60-day arrangement with APTwater will lapse this week, on October 22. Current board president Steve Cozzetto, who is not a candidate for another term, said the goal of this contract and the rate restructuring this year is to create longterm stability and fiscal certainty for the district.

“We’ve been basically losing money or just barely breaking even every month,” Cozzetto said, adding that the APT contract “gives us advantages of economy of scale under APT… for a saving of about $3,264 a month in operating and insurance costs.”

According to projections seen by The Mountain Enterprise, rate revenue in 2012 will increase by $127,277. Overall operating cost projections of $375,059 (which include APT’s 2012 management and operations fee of $323,222), will bring the district into a net positive position, $88,440 in the black.

“This will allow us to start building a capital replacement fund to replace worn out equipment and to build a reserve fund, which we haven’t been able to do since we started doing things legally to get into compliance with the state,” Cozzetto commented. He added that, “there are some in the district who want to see us do things like they did 20 years ago, with the secretary working out of her home….”

He said increased professionalism is necessary in the district’s effort to meet state standards regarding fluoride levels in the Chimney Canyon well, and the increasing pressure to upgrade failing sections of the 50 year old system.

He believes APTwater will be hiring current employees directly, and will make an employee benefit package available to them which LCWD could not afford on its own.


Eleven candidates are competing for the five board seats to be filled at the Tuesday, Nov. 8 election. There are three full term (4 year) positions to fill. Candidates are Philip Aaland, William Hopper, Millie Karr, Thomas Kermode and Elmore Rider. Candidates for the two short term (2 year) seats are Delbert Clowes, Stephan Kiouses, Willard Martin, Julie McWhorter, Craig Smith and Darla Vanderlip.

This is part of the October 21, 2011 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

Have an opinion on this matter? We'd like to hear from you.