COMMERCE – Central Basin Municipal Water District Board of Directors elections will be held June 5, instead of the normal time in November.
General Manager Art Aguilar said he recommended moving the elections up in order to save money. Aguilar said he can’t provide an exact figure but believes it could be as much as $300,000.
“In a presidential election, it cost about $500,000 and in a primary election, it’s about $200,000,” Aguilar said.
The board approved it at its Nov. 21 meeting.
There will be no change in the four-year term of directors because those elected in June still will serve until January of 2013, Aguilar said.
Aguilar said moving the election also means the district’s election costs will be counted in the fiscal year that ends June 30.
“This would allow me to hold the line on any rate increases for next year,” Aguilar said.
However, Aguilar doesn’t have an estimate from the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder’s Office on the money his district will have to pay.
Marcia Ventura, spokeswoman for the office, said they will provide an estimate for a jurisdiction but the Central Basin district didn’t make a request.
Ventura said she didn’t know if there is a difference in the costs between the election dates.
“We have no blanket answer for that,” she said. “It depends on the number of jurisdictions on the ballot.”
Jim Glancy, vice president of the Central Basin Water Association, said the change might come as a surprise to potential candidates.
“What would the methodology be for letting potential candidates know that the date was moved?” he said. “It will be interesting to see if there’s a true cost savings.”
Robert Apodaca, a member of the Central Basin board who represents Whittier, said he voted for the change because of the potential savings.
“My election is three years away,” Apodaca said. “It will save us money and it’s the only reason I supported it.”
The district’s action means that the board seats of Edward Vasquez of Montebello, Rudy Montalvo of South Gate and Phil Hawkins of Cerritos will be on the June ballot.
The change figures to lower turnout for the water board election. In November 2008, turnout was nearly 82 percent, while in the February presidential primary it was 55 percent.
Aguilar denied the change was made to reduce turnout.
“That’s not our intention,” he said. “Our intention is cost management.”
He said the change also could increase the attention given to the district’s elections because there will be fewer issues on the ballot.
“We think it will be more noticeable in the June election than in the general election,” he said.
Filing for the races began Monday. Deadline is 5 p.m. March 9.
Prospective candidates must file at the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder’s Office, 12400 Imperial Highway, Norwalk.