TID Board Requests Termination of Westside Electrical Service Area Annexation Process

On August 14, 2011, the City of Patterson submitted a letter requesting annexation of their Westside Electrical Service Area (WESA) into the Turlock Irrigation District (TID). TID General Manager, Casey Hashimoto, directed staff to prepare a report on the service and financial concerns regarding the annexation.

The City of Patterson submitted the proposal to the Stanislaus County Local Agency Formation Committee (LAFCo) to reorganize the WESA to the TID jurisdictional boundaries for electrical service. The City filed the application because LAFCo requires that application be made by an agency.
David Hobbs, Assistant General Counsel, presented the findings to the TID Board at Tuesday’s Board Meeting with the recommendation that they move forward with the termination.
The main problem found by staff was that upon annexation according to California Government Code 57325, the area annexed would have the same rights and duties as the original district. This is where the service and financial concerns come into play. In order to provide water and irrigation services to the area there would be a significant impact to their existing customer base and would have a high cost in infrastructure improvements.
The annexed area would add 225 square miles to the TID jurisdiction representing approximately 44,000 acres. Supplying water to this amount of area would increase demand by 29% and could result in a 13% reduction of supply to existing customers. In order to determine the cost of making infrastructure improvements, such as increased holding capacity at Turlock Lake, improved canal and lateral systems, as well as reservoirs and pumping stations on the Westside, a consultant would have to be hired at the estimated cost of $100,000 to $250,000. Once the cost was determined according to Proposition 218 there would need to be a public vote to pass the funding mechanisms needed to make those improvements. 
Therefore, according to Government Code Section 56857, there would be service and financial concerns with the annexation and reason for termination.
Dennis Moore, representing the City of Patterson, objected to the termination of the process stating, "It is fundamentally wrong to deny annexation because there is no representation for those 10,000 residents on this board. They do not have a voice when it comes to rate increases." 
Director Frantz asked staff to explain once more exactly why annexation of just the electrical was not possible.
Hobbs stated, "Our water and power services go hand in hand. This makes it difficult to split the decision making process between water and power issues and complicating the process of representation on the board."
Staff continued to explain that this is likely the reason for the legislation requiring that the annexed area have the same rights and duties. Unfortunately, there are no current laws that allow annexation for just the electrical service. The next course of action if the City of Patterson wants to continue pursuing annexation is to pursue a change in legislation.
The TID Board ultimately went with the staff recommendation and unanimously passed the resolution to request that LAFCo terminate the annexation process.
TID will now await action by LAFCo while the City of Patterson may respond to TID’s decision.

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