Reflecting on a Year of Progress

Fiscal Year 15-16 has been a year of progress for Central Basin. Over the past year, Central Basin has demonstrated its commitment to move forward.  The changes the District has implemented have resulted in improved financial stability, operations, governance and more resources for our communities. One of the District’s major accomplishments was its recognition for Excellence in Transparency by the Special District Leadership Foundation. Central Basin joins an esteemed list of public agencies who have demonstrated their capacity to exceed requirements for open governance. This recognition was followed by another achievement, the implementation of an independent Ethics Policy, the first of its kind for public agencies.  The Ethics Policy includes an independent review process and confidential hotline. As part of this stride to become a stronger agency, Central Basin also led an aggressive approach to addressing the State Audit recommendations. Within six months of the State Audit’s release, Central Basin addressed 28 of the 32 recommendations.

The changes included: conducting Brown Act training for Directors and staff; developing policies that specify limitations on sponsorships; requiring quarterly reporting on its contracts; and disclosing the true nature of its expenditures. As part of the audit, the District also strengthened its financial stability by initiating a water rate study; developing a long-term financial plan; and creating a debt management policy. Other changes include reducing the car allowance for Board of Directors; reviewing the Director’s compensation; and establishing a formal hiring policy for the General Manager. In addition to making internal improvements, the District also played a key role in assisting local water providers and communities respond to the drought. Central Basin launched a conservation tool to help communities identify strategies to reduce consumption. In addition, the District increased workshops for purveyors, offering an opportunity for more engaged discussions on timely, pressing water issues. The District also created a conservation training program for city and purveyor staff members. Through the training, staff members learned how to respond to residential inquires, best practices and a list of the most frequently asked questions. Further, Central Basin also secured grant funding to provide free water use audits and retrofits to non-profit and public organizations. With respect to operations, the District initiated grant applications to expand its recycled water system.  Additionally, the District launched a recycled water campaign to raise awareness of the benefits of using recycled water during and beyond the drought. As part of this campaign, the District provided its recycled water users with free lawn signs that identified sites as sustainable ones. With a collaborative effort between the Board and the staff, Central Basin successfully accomplished the goals it set.  With a new fiscal year ahead, the District will continue striving to provide the highest level of service to our stakeholders.