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News

Public can comment on M.O.W.D. directors’ pay raise

Meiner Oaks Water District logo 300x135

Perry Van Houten, Ojai Valley News senior reporter

For the first time in 24 years, directors of a small Ojai Valley water district will be getting a pay hike.

On Jan. 18, the Meiners Oaks Water District Board of Directors adopted an ordinance raising director compensation from $150 to $250 for each full board meeting.

It’s the first pay raise for District directors since 1998.

“The increase was really because of the dramatic increase in the responsibilities and the time commitment and even just the knowledge that we now have to bring to the table in so many diverse aspects of water delivery,” said Board President Mike Etchart. “It’s just changed so dramatically over, really, the last eight years.”

The changes involve the District’s infrastructure needs such as new tanks, upgrading wells and meters, looking for new water sources, working on nitrate removal and knowledge of endangered species. “We’re doing grant applications,” Etchart said.

Then there’s the Ventura River Watershed Adjudication lawsuit. “That’s the big kahuna of time suck that we’re all involved in,” Etchart told the Ojai Valley News.

Directors are currently paid $50 for each committee meeting. That fee will also increase to $250, for a maximum of 10 board and committee meetings per month. “The thought behind that was that our committee meetings typically require considerable work and research beforehand,” Etchart said.

By comparison, directors of Ventura River Water District are compensated $160 for each board meeting. Casitas Municipal Water District directors are paid $198.02 per day of service.

State law permits directors to increase their current fee by an annual amount equal to up to 5% for every year since the last increase went into effect. Board compensation can only be increased by adopting an ordinance, which requires a public hearing and must be noticed in the newspaper.

The vote to adopt the ordinance was 4-0, with one director absent.

Adoption of the ordinance kicked off a 60-day public comment period ending March 19, the date the ordinance is due to take effect.

To read the ordinance the directors voted on for their pay raise, visit: http://meinersoakswater.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Director-Compensation-Ordinance-22-01-18-Approved.pdf

To comment on the pay raise, email Board Secretary Summer Ward at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; write to 202 W. El Roblar Dr. or call 805-646-2114; fax number is 805-646-2297.

 

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