Monday, January 30, 2023

Emergency petition filed on behalf of CWD

Local Editor | January 24, 2023 1:00 AM

CATALDO — In the wake of five approved recall petitions for the Cataldo Water District board, an emergency judicial petition has been filed.

In late December, Shoshone County Clerk Tamie Lewis-Eberhard approved five petitions to recall the five board members of the CWD, Ed Hanson, Daniel Waldo, Lisa Eaton, Daniel Peterson and Cathleen House — all of whom resigned their posts prior to Dec. 30.

This was followed by the resignation of the CWD’s two clerks, essentially eliminating any human element from the CWD — save their lone maintenance worker.

Since then, Lewis-Eberhard has been hard at work with Shoshone County Prosecuting Attorney Ben Allen to determine the best course of action for the small water district.

After weighing the options it was determined that filing the petition, which now gives District Court and Judge Barbara Duggan the power to appoint new board members, was the best course of action.

“This was done out of public necessity,” Allen told the News-Press. “Usually these types of decisions are left up to the district in question’s board, including filling any vacancies on the board, but with no board members in place, there is no mechanism to exercise any authority.”

With no board, it means no new business can be handled on behalf of the district, no management of any assets owned by the water district and no planning for the future of the district.

Kingston resident Dawn Hauff led the recall effort — just one of many residents who have been upset with the recent activity of the board concerning the direction the taxing district was going following the approval of their 2022/23 budget — which included a steep rate increase.

Customers instantly took offense to the board’s decision to increase the base billing from $28 per month to $45, plus an additional $1.50 for every 1,000 gallons of water used. This is a significant change for customers who had been paying less while receiving their first 10,000 gallons of water per month free under previous budgets.

Those rate increases along with the 2022-2023 budget being raised from $85,900 to $187,825, have fueled the recall efforts.

The board and clerks cited increases in prices for materials, upgrades, and the rent on the building they housed their offices in as the major reasons behind the jump in the budget — but those reasons haven’t quelled any of the discord between the two sides.

Customers of the Cataldo Water District can still call the district’s phone number, because, allegedly, the messages are being checked regularly.

It is unknown what the timetable will be for Judge Duggan to determine her appointments for the board’s new members.

Bills can still be paid, they simply need to be mailed in.

To report an issue, please contact the Cataldo Water District at 208-682-3581.

To mail in a payment, send it to P.O. Box 211, Kingston, ID 83839.

The Shoshone News-Press will continue to follow this story.

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