Byron-Bethany Irrigation District Welcomes Progress In Possible Detachment Process in Discovery Bay

Byron, CA (December 8, 2015) – Following open dialogue with Byron Bethany Irrigation District (BBID), officials with the Discovery Bay Community Services District (DBCSD) are moving forward with the process of possible detachment of overlapping service areas. Portions of the Town where BBID has been receiving property tax revenue has been within BBID for over a century and received a surface water supply under the District’s pre-1914 water right.

At its regular board meeting of December 2nd, DBCSD unanimously passed a non-binding resolution in support of the detachment process. The action followed a November 23rd BBID board meeting, during which BBID’s Board of Directors met directly with DBSCD and officials with the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, encouraging all interested parties to speak openly and make positive progress toward a resolution.

“We appreciate that DBSCD has taken a clear, public position on this matter,” said BBID Board President Russell Kagehiro. “We recognize the need for honesty and transparency regarding this complex and important issue. In the weeks and and months ahead, we will continue building common ground to reach a careful, reasonable and responsible solution.”

Contra Costa County Supervisors on November 17th voted unanimously, 5-0, to ask the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) in San Joaquin County to consider the detachment of parts of Discovery Bay from BBID. Contra Costa County’s sudden pursuit of detachment surprised and concerned BBID’s Board of Directors, as it remains uncertain whether detachment could compromise the future water supply of Discovery Bay.

“Although detachment will cause a sizable water rate increase for BBID customers within Contra Costa County’s agricultural core and eastern Alameda County, the District understands the position taken by the Town of Discovery Bay”, said BBID General Manager Rick Gilmore.

The matter rests in the hands of LAFCO, the agency responsible for coordinating changes to local government boundaries, including annexations, consolidations and detachments. It is specifically charged by law with encouraging the orderly formation and development of all the governmental agencies within its jurisdiction.

“This process still requires a great deal of thought and measured discussion between all stakeholders,” said BBID Board Vice President Tim Maggiore. “We look forward to LAFCO’s thorough examination as we move toward a decision that satisfies not only BBID’s constituents, but our neighboring agency’s.”

Byron-Bethany Irrigation District Welcomes Open Discussion on Possible Detachment Process in Town of Discovery Bay

Byron, CA (November 24, 2015) – At a regular board meeting Monday, Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID) initiated an open, transparent line of communication among the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors and the Discovery Bay Community Services District (DBCSD) related to a possible detachment process of overlapping service areas. Currently, the property tax revenue paid by the affected residents of the Town of Discovery Bay helps ensure the future water supply of the growing residential community. Contra Costa County Supervisor Mary Piepho’s Chief of Staff Tomi Riley addressed the BBID Board, clarifying some issues and participating in much of the discussion.

“We sincerely appreciate the opportunity to speak directly on this matter in an open, public forum,” said BBID Board President Russell Kagehiro. “This meeting set a stage toward positive progress, working collaboratively with all interested parties. While Supervisor Piepho was unable to attend the meeting, we appreciate Ms. Riley bringing light to some of our primary concerns.”

The BBID agenda item was in response to the November 17 Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors’ action asking the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) in San Joaquin County to consider the detachment of portions of the Town of Discovery Bay from BBID. Contra Costa County’s pursuit of detachment concerns the BBID Board of Directors as it represents a hasty, premature step with unknown implications. In Ms. Riley’s comments, she specifically addressed inconsistencies in recent communications from Piepho’s office concerning BBID’s finances.

“We need to slow down the train,” added Kagehiro. “This discussion was essential to ensure we maintain an open dialogue with all stakeholders. There are many potential consequences with detachment. This is not a decision that can be made too hastily, and the conversation needs to include everyone.”

Rick Howard, general manager of the DBCSD, addressed the BBID Board and commented that the Town of Discovery Bay had not taken a formal position on this matter, but also welcomed the open communication among agencies. Also present at the meeting were more than a dozen BBID agricultural customers and several Discovery Bay residents.

“As this matter heads to LAFCO, we look forward to participating openly with our neighboring agencies recognizing the interests of all constituents,” said BBID Board Vice President Tim Maggiore. “This is a long road ahead that requires thoughtful evaluation and analysis.”