Eagle Point ID worried about water
The recent incident with employee embezzlement has caused the Board of Directors of the Eagle Point Irrigation District to sit up and take note. They have asked auditor Rick Brewster to make recommendations to help prevent any further occurrence and Brewster responded during their June 10 meeting.
Brewster recommended that the District keep an accurate log of all checks, keep a receipt book for all cash transactions, scan copies of checks, review bank statements, prolifically use memos for all checks written and have the District manager initial all bank reconciliations. They have also moved to pay employees through direct deposit to prevent any duplicate checks.
On the issue of the theft, attorney Bill Mansfield reported that the ex-employee will be arraigned on June 29 and has entered a “not guilty” plea, a formality because the court appointed attorney has not had chance to review the case. Mansfield feels that plea will be changed, once the case proceeds through the system. Mansfield also said that he felt there would be a plea bargain and that the judge would likely rule that restitution would have to be made to the insurance company and to EPID. He also added that in cases of theft the perpetrator rarely had resources to repay any monies.
The case will likely be settled in September or October at the latest.
Continuing on with litigation cases, the District’s case against a landowner on Crowfoot Road is in front of the Court of Appeals and a hearing is scheduled for July 10. Mansfield will attend the hearing and present oral arguments. The case is an appeal from a lower court’s decision to disallow proper ingress and egress to an easement that crosses the defendant’s property. Mansfield said it could take months before a decision is reached concerning the case.
The top priority for the District and its patrons is the dire water situation facing the valley this year. At present, the District is able to supply patrons with the help of additional pumping from the north fork of Butte Creek. The south fork is currently measured at 68 cubic feet per second (cfs) and they are maintaining the canal at 91 cfs. Should the water levels drop further, the District would have to begin operating another pump to keep the required 88 cfs in the canal to operate efficiently and guarantee water to all patrons.
Willow Lake, owned by the Medford Water Commission is another source of water, and that will have to be tapped soon. When asked about the forecast for the summer, District Manager David Ford said “we can go another month and then take a look and we where we are.” Consultant Buck Rowden said “It’s going to get rough by August.” From those statements, patrons should be aware that something drastic is going to happen.
A short brainstorming session uncovered a plan that might be beneficial to the District and to the Medford Water Commission, and the Board made plans to connect with Medford Water to test the waters.
The Board of directors is planning a formal retirement party for Hazel and Roger Ellefson. Patron Karen Carpenter is in charge of arrangements.
In other news, the District is planning on hiring a part time employee with the book keeping and other office duties. Manager Ford will begin a search for qualified people.
Unless specifically called, the Board meetings of the District are held the second Tuesday of each month beginning at 5 p. m. at the District office on Brophy Road. Further information is available on their website and or by calling the office at 541 826-3411.