Cambria voters swept two incumbents back into office on the Cambria Community Services District board.
As of 11:17 p.m. on Election Day, with 100 percent of the ballots counted in the race for two seats on the Board of Directors, Board President Jim Bahringer and Director Michael Thompson were leading, each with more than 29 percent of the votes.
Challengers Jeff Hellman and Richard Hawley trailed with 20.44 and 19.77 percent, respectively. Write-in candidates received 1.24 percent of the votes.
While the race had two certified write-in candidates — Stephen Kniffen and Jeff Walters — those votes won’t be officially allocated to them (or any other write-in candidates) until later in the ballot-counting process.
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That laborious and time-consuming process, done mostly by hand, includes the count of provisional and late-arriving absentee ballots, which can change the outcome of tight races.
The primary issue facing the CSD winners will be the complex process of getting environmental and other clearances to use the district’s new $9 million emergency water-supply project on a permanent basis. The project, designed to produce potable water from a brackish blend, is being built under an emergency permit from the county.
A significant turning point in that process is expected Friday, Nov. 14, when a state water quality agency board considers revising the services district’s requirements for waste discharge and water recycling.
That’s the same day, construction of the new water-reclamation plant on San Simeon Creek Road is to be complete, according to terms of the county’s drought-triggered emergency permit.
Cambria Community Services District and Central Coast Regional Water Control Board staffers have been negotiating several sticking points in the district’s plan for handling the waste brine, such as increased gopher control, the need for a $17,600-a-year surety bond and the safety of a 6.2-million-gallon holding pond with a mechanical spray-blower system to enhance evaporation.
Besides water, the CSD provides sewage treatment, in-town fire protection, trails and parks such as Fiscalini Ranch Preserve, facilities such as the Veterans Memorial Building, and the all-volunteer Parks, Recreation and Open Space Commission and North Coast Ocean Rescue Team.
Other issues facing the district board include:
• Asking customers to approve another rate increase so the district has funds to update or replace aging infrastructure and equipment and start building reserve funds.
• Determining how to care for a rare, aging but protected native stand of Monterey pines.
• Having more than 660 properties on a wait list to build.
• Maintaining a diverse portfolio of open space, trails and parks and planning for a recreational park on the preserve’s East Ranch area.
The district’s midyear operating budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year includes about $8 million in income and $9.2 in expenditures, but directors expect to consider a budget update at their Nov. 20 meeting. General Manager Jerry Gruber estimated in September that the district has the equivalent of 27 full-time employees.
If you go
The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board’s meeting Friday, Nov. 14, starts at 8:30 a.m. in the board offices, 895 Aerovista Place, Suite 101, San Luis Obispo. The board is scheduled to consider waste discharge and water recycling requirements for the Cambria Community Services District’s revised plan for permanent use of its emergency water supply project. The water board also is to consider new waste discharge requirements for the district’s surface impoundment (waste pond) for the project.
The Cambria Community Services District Board of Directors meeting will be Thursday, Nov. 20, at 12:30 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial Building.