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Three board members are re-elected at IWA

By Staff | Apr 15, 2009

During the Island Water Association’s annual meeting, stakeholders unanimously re-elected three members of the Board of Directors – President Tim Gardner, Vice President/Treasurer Bill Fenniman and Vice President Bill Carr – to two-year terms before hearing details about how the recently-approved 18 percent rate increase will effect the company.

According to Gardner, the IWA had not requested a rate hike since 1992. But increased operating costs and reduced water consumption forced the issue.

“We actually had to go to City Council,” he said. “We went there three times and we took a pretty good beating, but we did get the 18 percent rate increase.”

During the treasuer’s report, Fenniman noted that IWA revenues dropped from $6.5 million in 2007 to $5.8 million last year. Based upon the rate increase, the company is projecting approximately $6.4 million in revenues during 2009.

Operating costs, however, are also expected to rise this year. The IWA is anticipating expenses of approximately $4.9 million in 2009, up from $4.6 million last year. Operating costs in 2006 and 2007 were about $4.7 million and $4.8 million, respectively.

Gardner also mentioned that one area needing to be addressed in the coming year is related to the IWA workforce, with only nine of the company’s 29 employees under the age of 40. He stressed the importance of cross-training their employees, and providing new training as older employees retire.

“This is likely going to be one of the biggest challenges the IWA is facing,” he said. “But it’s one of the challenges that we’ve got to face.”

IWA General Manager Rusty Isler delivered his report, noting that in 2008 the company produced less than 1,200,000,000 gallons of water, only the second time since the year 2000 that such a level had not been exceeded.

Isler also pointed out that in February of this year, water sales jumped slightly, which he attributed to increased tourist numbers and the rate hike.

“We haven’t escaped the economy, and we don’t anticipate that this increase will continue,” he added.

Other topics discussed during Isler’s report included water consumption across Sanibel; the highest neighborhood use is The Sanctuary (19.5), followed by Beachview (17.9) and Captiva Drive (13.5).

The focus of capital projects during 2009 include well pumps, well lines, clearwell transfer pumps and injection well mechanical integrity testing.

He also praised the company’s safety record and employees.

“It’s been 3,060 days since our last work accident. Our people are very conscious of that and make great efforts for safety. This is a hazardous industry,” Isler said. “Our most important asset is our employees. Our workforce is very dedicated. It’s a real pleasure to work at the IWA… and that’s what makes it so nice – our employees.”

Also during the meeting, IWA distribution manager Joe Scofield was recognized for his 20 years of service to the company.