District reviews contracts, fees

   Ramona Municipal Water District (RMWD) directors approved an amended agreement with the law firm that counsels the Ramona Municipal Water District increases legal fees, includes a cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) provision, and eliminates a six-month review.

   “Historically our legal fees have been quite low for Ramona,”  attorney Sophie Akins of Best, Best & Krieger LLP told the district directors at their June 22 meeting. “For many years our rates remained stagnant and as a result, as you noticed from our agenda memo, our rates are significantly lower than what other water agencies are charged by our law firm.”

   The retainer fee shall remain at $7,000 per month, but fees charged for services outside the retainer shall increase approximately 5 percent. The COLA will occur automatically based on the San Diego Consumer Price Index, said Akins.

   By eliminating the six-month review, the district will continue its agreement with Best, Best & Krieger until the board decides to terminate the agreement.  Doing so, Akins said, will cut the time involved in preparing an agenda memo and legal services agreement every six months.

   “It’s a matter of efficiency,” Akins said.

In other business:

   •Directors recognized the retirement of Dee Duncan, who has worked for the district in customer services for 22 years.

   •Director Darrell Beck reported that the district has begun improvements to the Ramona Community Center building on Aqua Lane. The wood siding is being removed and will be replaced with stucco. Pipes and wiring located on the outside of the building will be moved inside the walls.  The changes will eliminate a lot of upkeep on the building, he said, and will make the exterior more fire-proof.

The district has budgeted $96,000 for the project.

   •Directors adopted resolutions authorizing the collection of delinquent water charges and weed abatement charges by placing them on the San Diego County secured property tax rolls.

   •Directors renewed a contract with Trauma Intervention Programs (TIP) of San Diego County Inc. for fiscal year 2010-11 for $5,100.  TIP is a nonprofit corporation that provides 24-hour crisis intervention services to contracting agencies.

   •Directors approved an annual fee of $20 for vendors who want to be placed on the RMWD backflow list. An After Hours Call Out Fee of $50 was also approved. This fee will only be assessed by the general manager for after-hours service calls that are determined to have been needed due to an issue on the customer’s side of the meter.

   •A public hearing is set for Aug. 10 for the possible adoption for the fire mitigation fee, multi-year facilities and equipment plan.  The plan details fiscal year (FY) 2010-11 revenues collected and expenditures from fire mitigation fee funds. It also requires an accounting of future expenditures for FY 2010-15.

   
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