Water board candidats still hoping for win

By: Gloria Beverage
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Ben Mavy believes he has a chance of claiming the District 5 seat on the Placer County Water Agency board. When the polls closed on Nov. 4, Otis Wollan had a 52-vote lead over Mavy. Of the 16,585 votes cast on Nov. 4, the incumbent claimed 8,294 votes, while Mavy collected 8,242. However, Placer County Elections Department will not declare the winner until nearly 3,000 provisional and absentee ballots are counted. It could be the end of the month before the race is decided. “I feel really good,” said Mavy on Thursday. “It was a close race against a 20-year incumbent.” Mavy pointed out that Wollan was leading by four percent in the early returns, but he overcame that deficit as the evening wore on. “There are 3,000 votes still to be counted in our district,” Mavy said. “It’s going to be close.” Whatever the outcome, Wollan said on Friday, “I’m extraordinarily grateful to have had 21 years (on the board). I’ve invested a lot of good ideas and heart into it. Whatever falls out, falls out.” The main point of contention during the campaign was the Middle Fork Project. Ownership of – and revenue from – the Middle Fork Project will revert from PG&E to Placer County and the Placer County Water Agency in 2013. Revenue from the sale of water and power from the project are estimated to range from $30 million to $100 million per year, depending upon annual snow and rainfall. A joint powers agreement signed by the two agencies would split excess project revenues 50/50 after operating costs and debt services are paid. Wollan said during the campaign that he is satisfied with how PCWA has handled the relicensing process as well as the creation of the Joint Powers Authority. He believes the 50/50 revenue-sharing agreement is an elegant solution to a complex problem, Wollan said in an earlier interview. On the other hand, Mavy’s top priority if elected would be to re-purpose the current joint powers agreement. Rather than let the JPA funnel the money to the two government entities, Mavy wants to restructure the board so that it can capture the funds and decide how the money should be spent. In the meantime, supporters of both candidates are also anxiously awaiting the outcome. Wollan said Jennifer Montgomery, newly elected Placer County Supervisor, told him “her fingers were crossed so tightly they were turning blue.”