To the Editor: Opposes GA fee

We wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for meeting with us last week along with the other city officials. We appreciate your time.

The Ridgecrest Area Association of Realtors wants to be very clear. We understand that our water issue needs to be addressed to ensure sustainability for our local Navy, schools, hospital, businesses, agriculture, Searles Valley, and our entire community that we support. We encourage growth and quality of life for our desert communities.

The RAAR is deeply concerned about the upcoming vote by the IWVGA on the adoption of the Replenishment Fee that would be designated to fund a portion of the Groundwater Augmentation Project that has been laid out in the IWVGA “Groundwater Sustainability Plan”, and the Engineers Report dated on June 18, 2020.

Listed below are our concerns and recommendations:

• Plan assumptions & limitations — the plan is based on several assumptions that RAAR has concerns about, including but not limited, to the recharge rate and the amount of water that is in the IWV basin. If the plan is based on inaccurate or incomplete numbers we will be leading our community down a path that won’t solve the sustainability problem. In order to address this issue our board recommends more exploration by the GA, gathering of additional and updated data.

• Transparency — RAAR is concerned that there has not been enough transparency on the part of the Groundwater Authority, particularly financial transparency. What are the expenses required to implement each phase of the plan (these expenses could include but not limited to any and all consultants, attorneys, administration cost of the GA, infrastructure cost, actual purchase of water costs, etc.)? Where will the income to cover these expenses come from? Given this current plan what is the bottom line monthly cost to the residential and business user estimated?

• Private property rights. Realtors are bound by the Code of Ethics to protect private property rights. We would like to see a more equitable plan to all parties that can be brought forward to the public in its entirety.

Considering the concerns and questions of the RAAR, we join the Indian Wells Valley EDC, the Indian Wells Valley Water District and thousands of concerned citizens to ask for the delay of the vote.

Thank you for your attention on this very important matter.

Carole Vaughn, president

Ridgecrest Area Association of Realtors

Story First Published: 2020-08-21