Letter to the Editor: More questions for Yellow Jacket board

Dear Editor: First and foremost, we must correct ourselves for incorrectly stating the number of directors not present or continuing to serve on the board after their appointments had expired. It was not four directors but five directors either not present or continuing to serve after their appointments had expired. In defense of the directors, we understand how difficult it must be to find willing and able people to fill a spot on the board. However, this does not excuse them from their responsibility to their constituents.Instead of apologizing to the public, the district has chosen to simply label the lack of representation as a “procedural issues.” It is not an “issue,” it is the law under which the district must function. This may be a procedural issue to the district board but it is critical to taxpayers who rely on those representatives to represent them.“The court found that a board that allows its directors to serve well beyond their appointed terms when no timely or reasonable efforts have been made to appoint successors is, at some point, acting beyond the scope of its statutory power. To hold otherwise would render an important portion of that legislation meaningless. YJWCD’s interpretation of a statute cannot simply invalidate an apparently valid provision for convenience alone. The court also believes the district’s interpretation marginalizes two other requirements of the act. First, the act deliberately establishes staggered terms for directors. See C.R.S. 37-45-114 (l)(b). Allowing directors to serve indefinitely would complicate staggered terms. The court does not believe the Legislature intended such an effect. Second, the act requires that directors’ term limits remain transparent.”There are some other interesting facts that the summary judgment pointed out and made public. “In the courts determining whether or not the district complied with the act and 1959 decree is an ancillary matter that directly affects a finding of diligence for the district’s conditional water rights in Case Nos. 09CW48 and 09CW50” “The court found that the board did lack a valid quorum in 2009”.(But the diligence applications were filed despite that.) “The act further requires that a “majority of the directors shall constitute a quorum, and a concurrence of a majority of those in attendance, in any matter within their duties, shall be sufficient for its determination”.1* (i.e., diligence filings which were never discussed at any time according to YJWCD minutes )We are still left with many questions unanswered: 1. Why did YJWCD counsel/secretary file the diligence applications without a concurrence from the directors?2. Why have their financial statements not been made public as previously requested? 3. Why must the constituents of the YJWCD subsidize energy companies’ water needs? “Currently, energy companies have the right to divert annually more than 10,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 7.24 million acre-feet (af) of water and store more than 1.7 million af, from the Colorado, White and Yampa Rivers. Enough storage to meet the annual needs of 8-10 million Colorado residents.” 2*4. What alternatives has YJWCD considered concerning these projects? *”Because of contemporary permitting difficulties in constructing additional projects for capturing unappropriated water municipalities must consider alternative water supplies.Possible alternative supplies include the following: the conversion of senior agricultural water through change of use proceedings, the tapping of tributary and non-tributary groundwater and demand side conservation management, recharge, exchange and augmentation.”3*5. How will YJWCD pay for an appeal with only $27,000 budgeted for 2011, and what will their appeal be based on that would overturn Judge O’Harra’s opinion.6. Why has YJWCD not made the results of phase one of their study available to the public?7. As important an economic factor that energy is, are you, the constituents, prepared to turn the White River into a muddy creek for it and are you prepared for the impact that would have on the city of Meeker’s water wells?1* Quoted from Colorado Water Court Div. 6 Judge O’Harra’s Summary Judgment2* Quoted from a report prepared by AMEC Earth and Environmental Inc. prepared exclusively for the Energy Needs Subcommittee of the    Colorado and Yampa/White River Basin Round tables.3* Quoted from COLORADO WATER LAW: AN HISTORICAL OVERVIEW, 1 U.DENV.WATER L. REV. 1 (1997)JUSTICE GREGORY J. HOBBS, JR.Scott and Veronica FandrichMeeker, Colo.