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Questions about the Cataldo Water District

by SHARON WALDO/Guest Opinion
| February 17, 2023 1:00 AM

What is going on?

At this point, a small group of Cataldo Water District Customers have gone through two separate boards in the past two years.

What?

Yes, the Cataldo Water District Board consisted of five board members, a secretary and an operator. The district asked the secretary to work in the office and not at home to better serve the customers. The secretary refused and said she would quit before she would work in the office. When the secretary quit two other members of the board also quit. One member of the board was harassed and threatened until he resigned and another resigned for unknown reasons, leaving one board member. The responsibility of appointing a new board was left up to the remaining board member and a new secretary was hired.

Using unfair rate hikes as their reasoning, the disgruntled employee and a group of customers were not happy with the board that was chosen and proceeded to recall the entire board. They harassed employees of the Kingston Water District and Kingston/Cataldo Sewer District as they shared office space with the Cataldo Water District. This resulted in the Sewer District evicting the Cataldo Water District from their building and leaving the CWD with no office space.

Why is this group of customers so unhappy?

The group says it is because of unfair rate hikes. Well, when I first moved to this district I paid $12 per month. Somewhere along the line it was raised to $28, and with prices and wages going up, the requirement of a certified operator and a new and real need for capital improvements, rate changes were long overdue. The group seems to want control of all county entities and have also begun to harass the Kingston Water District and the Kingston/Cataldo Sewer District.

After the resignation of the secretary, all files/ledgers and documents were requested to be returned to the new board and only the past year was presented — all other files are unaccounted for. This prompted the board to request an audit (which is required by law) causing constant harassment and threats with the following results:

• Resignation of secretaries

• Recall and resignation of all board members

• Eviction of the Water District

• Shoshone County is responsible for appointing a new board of directors

• Shoshone County defers to Kootenai County

• Kootenai County Judge has now appointed new board members

The recalled board members and secretary out of a sense of responsibility took care of billing and payroll through January. The operator has remained out of a sense of responsibility in spite of the harassment.

Why would having an audit done, and handing over water district documents and ledgers make this group so revengeful?

That is an incredibly good question, one which I have asked myself many times and one we should ask each and every candidate we vote for in the next election.

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Sharon Waldo is a Kington resident and customer of the Cataldo Water District.