Newsletter Fall 2014
WATER SUPPLY INFORMATION
As we all know, it was an extremely hot and dry summer. In order to make the water supply last as long as possible, the District did not begin making water deliveries until May. At that time the District anticipated shutting the irrigation water off around September 15th. Fortunately we were able to keep the water running until Monday, September 22nd when everything was shutdown. This shutdown date is approximately two to three weeks earlier than when we normally shut off.
We would like to thank our water users for their high level of cooperation in managing the water in this drought year. Had we not had this cooperation, the District would have been forced to shut off much earlier.
The status of the reservoirs at the time of shutting off is represented in the following Teacup Diagram which is from the United States Bureau of Reclamation Website at http://www.usbr.gov/pn/hydromet/roguetea.h tml . This website is updated on a daily basis.
In an effort to be sure our patrons are kept up-to-date, the Board would like to touch on some of the current issues facing the District which are as follows:
As we have previously reported, several years ago the Talent, Medford and Rogue River Valley Irrigation districts joined together to form the Rogue Basin Water Users Council (RBWUCI). The purpose for forming this organization was to present a united front to fight common issues that affect all three districts and do it in the most economical way possible to reduce costs for the patrons of each district.
SECTION 7 ESA CONSULTATION The completed Biological Opinion (Bi-Op) was issued on April 2, 2012 and the implementation of the Bi-Op requirements are numerous and complicated and still being defined. To work out details of the implementation process, the RBWUC, Inc. must continue to engage costly legal counsel and biologists to work out details of the implementation process. The work performed by legal counsel and biologists is very expensive but is greatly needed to protect as much of our water supply as possible.
KLAMATH BASIN ADJUDICATION In addition, the Klamath Basin Adjudication is still on-going requiring numerous hours of work on behalf of the RBWUCI legal counsel to find a resolution to contested water right issues. Now that the Adjudication process is in the court system in Klamath County it is anticipated that it is going to be a very long drawn out process considering the numerous parties involved in the resolution process. We anticipate the legal fees involved will continue to be very expensive.
OREGON WATER RESOURCES CONGRESS (OWRC) Unfortunately in this day and age it seems that the actual delivery of the irrigation water to district patrons is not the only job the districts have. Regulations on every aspect of operating an irrigation district are becoming increasingly more difficult all the time. Keeping up on ever-changing state and federal rules and regulations are of the utmost importance to preserve our rights to delivery water. One way we are able to impact legislative issues that may affect us is by being members of the Oregon Water Resources Congress. This organization represents all member irrigation districts in Oregon. Not only do they monitor State legislative issues that can affect irrigation districts, they also have representatives at the Federal level.
WISE PROJECT Additionally, the District is a voting Board member of the Water for Irrigation, Streams and Economy (WISE) Project. In addition to the three districts, the Medford Water Commission, City of Medford and Jackson County have partnered to move forward with the WISE Project. The goal of the project is to pipe the existing main irrigation ditches in the valley to provide gravity pressure water to all patrons and conserve water. The goal of the irrigation districts is for this project to continue moving forward while holding our patrons costless. After all, it is the irrigation district patrons who are already paying for the existing delivery system which may not be totally efficient but gets the job done.
Additional information on each of these topics can be found on our website at www.talentid.org
MEMORIAL TO WALTER H. HOFFBUHR 6/6/1924- 7/19/2014
The District was saddened to hear of the passing of our former Manager and long time friend, Walter H. Hoffbuhr on June 6, 2014.
Walt was appointed Manager of the Talent Irrigation District in November of 1955 and held the position until he retired in 1987. He was instrumental in leading the District in working with the Bureau of Reclamation on the enlargement of the irrigation system which allowed for the expansion of additional irrigated land in the Rogue Valley.
Walt was very active in numerous community organizations including the Shriners, Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, Oregon Water Resources Congress Lifetime member, Elks and the Ashland Community Hospital Board, just to name a few. He was always volunteering and giving back to the community.
The District would like to extend our condolences to Walt’s family and many friends. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
IRRIGATION BILLING AND COLLECTION INFORMATION
This is a friendly reminder of the District’s billing schedule and payment due dates. The District operates on a fiscal year which begins on October 1st and ends on September 30th. The annual irrigation statements are mailed out no later than February 4th and are due by April 1st. If the account is not paid in full by April 1st, interest accrues at the rate of 16% per annum (1.33% per month) on the unpaid balance. The interest calculation is retroactive to the billing date of February 4th. The District begins sending monthly statements out on April 5th and each month thereafter for those accounts with an outstanding balance.
The District accepts payments on all water user accounts. We do not set a payment amount or date, it is up to the water user to make those decisions based on what they can pay. If the current year bill that was sent out in February is not paid by November 15th, the District will file a lien on the property for all unpaid irrigation fees and interest a Lien Fee, currently in the amount of $214.00, will also be added to the account.
The lien fee covers the recording costs charged by Jackson County to have the Lien recorded and once the account is brought current, it also pays for a Satisfaction of Lien to be recorded. This fee also incudes the cost of mailing a lien notice letter by “Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested” and staff time in preparing the Lien and Satisfaction of Lien and making two trips to the Jackson County Courthouse for recording both documents. The District’s cost for filing liens is the same for a 0.10 acre parcel as it is for a 100 acre parcel so even though a one acre minimum charge, currently at $139.00, the lien fee will be charged and added to the account, currently at $214.00.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ON MAKING IRRIGATION PAYMENTS
Just a friendly reminder that the District is not set up to accept debit or credit cards. Payments must be made by cash, check or money order.
For those of you who pay your irrigation bills through your bank, please be aware that once you submit the payment authorization on- line, your bank will be mailing the District a paper check. When the bank processes your check, it can take up to 14 days for the District to receive your payment. In fact, it is very common for the bank to bundle the checks and send several checks in one envelope. The District has received more than 12 payments in one envelope on numerous occasions. It is also imperative that you make sure the mailing address in the bank system is PO Box 467 Talent, OR 97540. The post office does not deliver mail to our street address. If you use the District office address on West Valley View Road, the check will be returned to your bank by the post office. If this happens you will need to contact your bank to find out how they handle returned checks. Please keep in mind if your check is not received by the due date, interest will accrue on the account.
BEAR CREEK WATERSHED TMDL IMPLEMENTATION PROGRAM
The District just completed our 5th year of the reporting program for the Bear Creek Watershed Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Implementation Program. The reporting period ended on June 30, 2014 and our report has been submitted to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in Eugene for review.
The District spent a considerable amount of time this year developing a five year plan which outlines what projects or operational changes the District can do to improve water quality. DEQ assigned a new TMDL Coordinator to help assist with the program and the District was very fortunate to have the new coordinator, Priscilla Woolverton, from the DEQ office in Eugene come to our office and assist with the five year plan development. Since Priscilla is new to the area, we offered to take her on a tour of the District so she could learn about the local irrigation practices and just how the irrigation system works in the Rogue Valley. Priscilla was able to spend most of one day with one of our ditch riders looking at numerous areas in the District. Priscilla was very grateful for the tour and feels she has a greater understanding of just how complicated the irrigation system is in the Rogue Valley and the obstacles that the District faces in working to improve water quality.
2014-2015 BUDGET APPROVED WITH NO FEE INCREASES
Again this year the Board of Directors utilized the knowledge of our water users by appointing a Budget Committee consisting of the three Board Members, Bob Morris, Richard Fujas and Jeff Bohn and water users Dave Westerberg, Fred Clark and Bob Nelson.
The Budget Committee met in two public meetings, on August 12th and 19th. With valuable input from the Committee members, a balanced budget was developed without increasing District fees, with the exception of the Lien and Satisfaction of Lien fee, which was increased by $14 to cover the increased costs of recording documents at the Jackson County Clerks office.
The Board of Directors very much appreciates the valuable input and time commitment of the committee members. It is always the goal of the District to continue current operations as efficiently as possible.
The District’s current fee schedule is as follows:
Irrigation Fees (charged at a 1 acre minimum)
Account Charge (per tax lot)$85.00
Annual Irrigation Charge (per acre) $46.00
New Land Inclusion Charge (per acre)$2.00
McDonald System (per acre) $44.00
Annual Supplemental Charge (per acre) $23.00
Bureau Indebtedness (per acre) $6.00
Endangered Species Act (per acre) $2.00
Lien Search $55.00
Water Right Verification Letter $25.00
Lien and Satisfaction of Lien $214.00
Foreclosure administrative fee $150.00
Capital Improvement Transfer
Up to 5 acres $220.00
Each additional acre $30.00
Water Right Transfer $550.00
Re-transfer same tax lot different owner $220.00
Re-transfer same tax lot same owner $110.00
Quit Claim of Water Rights $110.00
Temporary Instream Leases:
0-5 acres $45.00
5.1 to 10 acres $90.00
10.1 to 20 acres $135.00
20.1 to 30 acres $175.00
30.1 to 40 acres $220.00
40.1 to 50 acres $265.00
50.1 to 60 acres $310.00
Over 60.1 acres $330.00
Crossing Applications $220.00
Water Truck Application $110.00
Plus charge for each 1,000 gallons $10.00
Pond Application $55.00
Right-of-Use Application $220.00
Planning Action Letters
No Concern $30.00
Requiring on-site review $110.00
Returned Check (each check) $30.00
Research/Compile Records $35.00
Copies (1st page of document) $.25
Each additional page of same document $.10
NO SPRAY AGREEMENTS
If you are a landowner that wants to request that no chemicals are used to control plant growth on the District’s right-of-way on our property, you need to annually fill out a No Spray Agreement and file it in the District office by January 1st of each year. You may either pick up an agreement or request that one be mailed or email to you. There are no fees for filing this form.
It is important to remember that in signing the No Spray Agreement, you are agreeing to control the vegetation on the District’s right-of-way through your property. Your failure to do so can potentially allow the District to control the vegetation with chemicals. Unfortunately the District has seen an increase in lack of vegetation control with some people who have signed No Spray Agreements. If this continues, the District will have no choice but to take over the vegetation control.
CHANGES IN ACCESS TO TID’S OFFICE NOW THAT THE TALENT URBAN RENEWAL AGENCY HAS INSTALLED A ROUNDABOUT ON WEST VALLEY VIEW ROAD
If you do not regularly drive in the downtown area of Talent, you may not be aware that the Talent Urban Renewal Agency (TURA) installed a roundabout on West Valley View Road, just off of Hwy 99, which has cut off direct access to the TID office from this area of travel. This construction is a result of the TURA West Valley View Project which is being constructed in phases. To access the TID office from Hwy. 99, you turn onto West Valley View Road and enter the roundabout and immediately turn right onto what is called the “New Main Street”. Follow the “New Main Street” a short distance and you will see a new alley on the left side of the road. Turn onto this alley and it will bring you back to West Valley View Road and the TID office is located across the road and to the left. You can also access the TID office from Talent Avenue by turning onto the new concrete driveway and following West Valley View Road down towards the roundabout and the office is located on the right side of the road.
The District has been told by TURA that half of West Valley View Road between the new roundabout and the new alley will be developed into a plaza, but this will not happen until sometime next year when funding becomes available.
The following is map of the newly constructed area to help you access the District property:
RECLAMATION REFORM ACT FORMS
ANY LANDOWNER WHO OWNS AND/OR LEASES IRRIGATED LAND TOTALING 40.1 ACRES OR MORE MUST ANNUALLY (OR MORE OFTEN) FILE RRA FORMS WITH THE DISTRICT OFFICE PRIOR TO RECEIVING IRRIGATION WATER.
The Bureau of Reclamation requires that RRA forms be on file prior to any water being delivered to the property of owners who own and/or lease irrigated land totaling 40.1 acres or more. If your landholdings change in any way during the irrigation season, which includes moving your property into a trust, any changes to a lease agreement, or the passing of one or more of the property owners, it is imperative that you contact the District office to update your RRA forms.
The District makes every effort to help landowners comply with the RRA regulations, but it is absolutely the landowner’s responsibility to understand the law and make sure that the correct forms are filled out and on file.
Please remember when you make any changes in your landholdings that put you at 40.1 acres or more owned and/or leased, to contact the District office for the necessary RRA forms. The District only updates our ownership records twice a year with Jackson County’s records so your diligence in communicating any changes you make to your landholdings is of the utmost importance. Once a deed is recorded at Jackson County it can take them a few months before the new ownership shows up on their website where we can access the information. If a landowner changes their ownership in any way, during the irrigation season and receives water without a new form on file, you will be fined by the Bureau of Reclamation.