I was extremely embarrassed when my colleague on the Virgin Valley Water Board (VVWB) Barbara Ellestad walked out of a presentation by fellow board member Robert (Bubba Smith) during the May 17, 2016, meeting of that board.
The issues Mr. Smith briefed were critically important and required her attendance to address questions from the public. Instead, she retreated from the discussion and has attempted to justify her position through the Mesquite Local News, which she controls.
I choose not to vote for the budget for several reasons, some of which were addressed by Mr. Smith. Further, Ms. Ellestad and others have criticized me for bringing up issues about the budget by saying that “you voted for it, and you should know what you are voting for.” Well, I am not voting for a line-item budget that does not serve the public and hides from them costs that are either unknown or designed to profit from water sales instead of meeting current and future demands.
The budget intentionally hides from the public the intent by some on this board to make money from share leasing while ignoring the importance of keeping our water here to best serve the public.
Further, I cannot support moving money from one account to another without adequate discussions on such issues as legal fees, treatment plant costs, pressure costs, land purchases for a new well in Lincoln County, insurance costs, and potential resolutions to the costs of a water transmission line across the river.
All of these issues were discussed at budget meetings. It should not be a surprise that I have concerns.