Friday, August 7, 2015

Commissioner, Councilman call for change to Drainage District board

To better represent Mesa County citizens, Mesa County Commissioner Scott McInnis and Grand Junction City Councilman Duncan McArthur are requesting a change to the governance of the Grand Valley Drainage District.

The district includes the communities of Grand Junction, Fruita and Palisade and the unincorporated areas of Mesa County. Since the district’s inception in 1915, many changes have occurred. When necessary, legislative modifications have been made.

County and city leaders, among others, have been meeting for months to evaluate the Drainage District and its services with the goal of better meeting drainage and stormwater needs, as well as water quality regulations.

Now, McInnis and McArthur are asking their boards and others to consider the necessary state legislation to restructure the Drainage District’s board of directors. The two would like to see the board move from a three-member, elected board to a five-member appointed board. Moving away from elected board members is important, they say, to properly represent citizens. Elections for the board are often cancelled; when that happens, board members are essentially self-appointed.

Under the plan, certain municipalities/areas of major economic impact that deserve to have their own representative to the district’s board would have one.  

These are the communities of:
·         Fruita
·         Palisade
·         Grand Junction
·         Mesa County – unincorporated areas and agricultural land

And the industry of:
·         Agriculture

“We believe a fresh and much more representative governance model for our communities is a change that leaders of today must recognize as being clearly warranted,” they wrote in a letter to the Drainage District board. The letter also was sent to other elected officials and local city/town managers.

“It would seem prudent that we come together as a team for this change and look forward to your participation and cooperation in establishing a stronger governing structure that benefits all in providing the Grand Valley with the tools to meet the challenges ahead.”

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