Byron, CA (July 26, 2016) – At a history-making board meeting, Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID) gave unanimous support to merge with West Side Irrigation District (WSID). The plan to consolidate the two major Tracy-area irrigation districts is one step closer to reality, after BBID’s Board of Directors voted 6-0 in favor of the merger. WSID leaders were in attendance at the meeting.
“Our two districts becoming one will be a stronger force in the water industry, ensuring greater water reliability for our customers,” said BBID GM Rick Gilmore. “Given the current political climate and recent challenges to water rights, there’s strength in numbers.”
The resolution approved by BBID Tuesday calls for the 6,000-acre WSID service area west of Tracy to be incorporated into the existing 30,000-acre service area of BBID, establishing a single, 36,000-acre district. At a board meeting earlier this month, WSID’s Board of Directors voice d their support for the plan with a 3-1 vote.
The affirmative votes by both districts came after carefully weighing the benefits a consolidation would bring customers, including stronger water resources and financial sustainability. An ad-hoc committee comprised of members from both districts reviewed all aspects of a potential merger, toured district facilities and examined financial data. Landowners voiced strong support at a public meeting.
Significant steps remain in the coming months before the consolidation can become official. The San Joaquin Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) has indicated both agencies will be required to complete a municipal service review (MSR), as well as enter into a property tax sharing agreement with San Joaquin County. Ultimately, San Joaquin LAFCO must sign off on a district reorganization plan to finalize the merger.
The last time BBID went before LAFCO was more than a decade ago, in 2004, when BBID successfully merged with Plain View Water District.