Board of Supervisors and Water Agency Board Consider Adoption of Joint Management Agreement
AUBURN, CA - The Placer County Board of Supervisors and the Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) Board of Directors will meet in joint session Tuesday January 10, 2006 to finalize an historic agreement for future financial management of the Middle Fork American River Project.
The Middle Fork Project (MFP) is a system of dams and waterways built in the 1960s to provide water to Placer County users and to generate electrical power, currently distributed through Pacific Gas and Electric. The Water Agency is responsible for working with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to relicense the project when the current license expires in 2013. PCWA and the Board of Supervisors will be responsible for approving new contracts for the sale of Middle Fork Project electrical energy.
The new agreement would create a Joint Powers Agency, named the Middle Fork Project Finance Authority, as a financial management framework for those tasks. Two elected officials from each entity will serve on the Authority with staff support from the agencies. The federal relicensing process is costly and complex, and will be the Authority's primary focus until completed. Costs for relicensing will be financed through debt and repaid from MFP power sales after 2013.
PCWA was formed by a special act of the Legislature in 1957 to protect the water resources of the county. The Agency owns and operates Middle Fork Hydroelectric Project through an elected Board of Directors, and both boards must agree on sales of power.
By a 25 to 1 margin, Placer County voters approved $140 million in revenue bonds to build the water project in 1961. The water and power project includes four reservoirs, seven dams and five hydroelectric power plants, and was the first project of its kind to be owned and operated by residents of a California county.
"Our residents showed tremendous vision in building this project which manages water and creates energy from the American and Rubicon rivers for farms, homes and businesses," said Board of Supervisors Chairman Robert Weygandt. "It is critical to the success of our county."
"Creating the Middle Fork Project Finance Authority has been a very important and helpful exercise in that both agencies will now be cooperating fully to get licensing done," noted Alex Ferreira, Chairman of Placer County Water Agency and a former Board of Supervisors member. "Treasurer Tax Collector Jenine Windeshausen has been extremely helpful in putting together the two agencies in a meaningful way."
The PCWA Board and the Placer County Board of Supervisors both represent all geographic areas of the county and have the same district boundaries.
The joint meeting will take place at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in the County Administrative Center, 175 Fulweiler Avenue, Auburn. Placer County Supervisors will also receive a briefing on the issue at their regular meeting in the same location which begins at 9 a.m.