McCloud CSD gains a new director and loses a general manager

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Change was in the air during Monday’s McCloud Community Services District board meeting as Ken Anderson being sworn in as a new director and the board accepted the retirement of district manager Beth Steele.  

Also on the agenda was the annual organizational meeting, which resulted in motions to retain Al Schoenstein as president and Anne Simons as vice president.

Stimulus funds for water system overhaul?  

Other highlights included approval of a motion to accept a recently revised water distribution system preliminary engineering report prepared by Schlumpberger Consulting Engineers.

The previous draft of the report was deemed unacceptable by the board at the last  meeting, as it was not in the proper format to be submitted for ARRA Stimulus fund consideration. 

“It is my understanding that the report is now in the proper format,” said  Schoenstein.

Despite the green light on the report, the board expressed many concerns regarding the limited amount of time available to apply for grant/loan funding to repair its aging water delivery infrastructure.

Kevin DeMers of USDA Rural Development, who is working with the district as they prepare to apply for funds, clarified some misconceptions held by some of the directors, one being the application deadline. 

“The ARRA (stimulus fund) does not expire on December 31 of this year... It is my understanding that we initially had come up with the December date for (the initial part of the application process),” said DeMers. “I do not see this as an attainable goal.”

DeMers said that the actual funding deadline is Sept. 30, 2010, but he reiterated that many things need to happen before the final date. 

Steele concurred. “Realistically, a pre-application needed to be on the table this month,” she said.

“Are we out of time?” asked director Simons, to which DeMers responded, “Do you have a project picked?  The window is slipping.”

DeMers emphasized the importance of not only having a project clearly identified but also of having the full support of the community, as a major overhaul will most likely require the district to raise its water rates.

“We need to do it in a way that (the community) can all get behind it,” said Simons.

Schoenstein and Dickinson both expressed a desire to fully understand the District’s options before moving forward with any plan.

“Every time I think I understand it, I find something different... maybe I understand 80 percent of it (right now),” said Schoenstein, who reiterated throughout the discussion that he had been under the impression that Dec. 31 was the “drop dead” date for making an application. 

GM Steele to retire

The board passed a motion accepting the retirement of district general manager Beth Steele, who announced that she is willing to serve until March 1 or earlier, depending on when the board finds a replacement.

Steele has held the GM position since June, 2008 and served as the district secretary for several years prior to that. 

Several members of the public acknowledged  Steele’s accomplishments and thanked her for her service.

Among them was Grant MacDonald, who applauded her for stepping in and assuming a difficult role.

Also speaking was Kevin DeMers. “Beth is the finest manager I have worked with over twenty years,” he said. 

Also expressing gratitude for Steele’s service was Norma Stone.

The discussion then turned to the task of finding a replacement for Steele, with the board passing a motion to hold a special meeting this Friday at 10 a.m. in Scout Hall to further address the issue.

“It is quite a time consuming process,” said Schoenstein, reminding the board that March 1 is not that far away. 

The board decided to post a “general” advertisement in the local community.

At the Friday meeting, the directors intend to more fully clarify what qualifications they seek in a new general manager.

“We have a form to give to directors that will give each director a chance to say ‘This is what I think is important (for this position),’” said Schoenstein.

Fire Dept.

receives applause

McCloud Fire Chief Rick Dexter received a hearty round of applause for his department’s efforts in helping the McCloud Mercantile  deal with frozen pipe issues that occurred during the recent cold snap.

Dexter extended the thanks to other area departments.

Resident Kelly Claro also acknowledged the departments efforts to spread holiday cheer by escorting Santa around town in the fire truck.