An Interview With NCSD Candidate Jim Harrison

Before I endorsed Jim Harrison, he and I had an email exchange in which I asked him to expound on some of the statements on his website. He was gracious enough to respond in detail. Jim has also authorized me to publish our email exchange. I hope this exchange will benefit Nipomo voters in deciding on who to send to the Nipomo Community Services District Board on November 7, 2006. The interview follows:

Growth in Nipomo

Guy Murray: Exactly how do you envision the NCSD having any impact in matching growth with infrastructure?

Jim Harrison: I am aware that NCSD has no planning powers however I believe that elected bodies of community service districts can and should influence the Supervisors, the Planning Commission, and County planning staff. This can be done by establishing good friendly communications, keeping the needs and desires of the community in front of these people all the time, by working with these offices to make sure that the infrastructure is in place prior to building massive projects, assure that long range planning considers all these needs. For a long time the county has approved projects without a good method of providing the infrastructure needed for our community, I am aware they are at this time working on methods of paying for this failure. Hopefully their efforts will meet with success.

Supplemental Water (Pipeline)

Guy Murray: Do you favor the pipeline?

Jim Harrison: Yes, with the present court stipulation, NCSD has little choice they must build a pipeline that will bring in 3000 afy of supplementary water from Santa Maria.

Guy Murray: If so, do you favor a restricted flow pipeline, or as large a pipeline as can be built?

Jim Harrison: Build the pipeline across the river to the storage tanks, large enough to handle the foreseeable future needs for water in the amount Santa Maria is willing to sell to the purveyors on the Mesa.

Guy Murray: How should the pipeline be paid for?

Jim Harrison: The present District Manager has written a paper outlining different options to pay for this project, Grants, low interest loans, developer fees, and the already approved increases for the rate payers. Working with the manager the board should come up with the most economical method possible to pay for the project.

Guy Murray: What other options do you favor as additional solutions to Nipomo’s water situation?

Jim Harrison: NCSD should research the option of a desalination plant to provide a long range dependable source of water outside of the aquifer. I think that when Santa Maria is built out and the drought comes, the state cuts back on the allotment of water to Santa Maria and Santa Maria passes that cut back on to all its users, The purveyors on the Mesa may not be able to meet their needs.

Guy Murray: Finally, how do you view Nipomo’s water situation?

Jim Harrison: I do not believe there is a crisis in the aquifer at this time. I think the problem is two fold, the first there are depressions in some areas of the Nipomo Mesa Management Area (NMMA) of the greater Santa Maria Aquifer due to the purveyors pumping water faster from these areas than can infill by natural flow of the underground water, I do not think these depressions are a major crisis at this time, they could become a major problem if they continue and a long term drought were to occur. Second and perhaps more pressing is the fact that NCSD failed to obtain rights to pump water from the aquifer other than what is determined to be excess after all other users have pumped up to 110% of their established highest year usage. This determination will be made by a board set up to over see the NMMA. I think during a drought NCSD can be left without enough water to fill its commitment.

Annexation of new areas by NCSD

Guy Murray: Do you favor greater annexation or no annexation, and why?

Jim Harrison: When a developer wants to annex into the district and I believe that all developments in the sphere of influence should be required to annex, that developer should pay for the supplemental water, and other service needs for their project as well as for the infrastructure to get the services to their development. I believe it is the responsible of the NCSD to plan and provide for the growth that is projected by the County Land use ordinance. Someone is going to provide the services because the County is probably going to approve the development as long is it meets the requirements of their land use ordinance, if in the sphere of influence it should be NCSD.

Expanded NCSD Powers:

Guy Murray: Do you believe the NCSD should expand its current powers–please explain why or why not?

Jim Harrison: There are areas NCSD should explore expanding their powers, they have to make sure that funds are available to pay for these expanded powers, expanding the powers of NCSD would bring more local control over the things that influence our lives.

Nipomo Incorporation:

Guy Murray: What is your position on Nipomo’s Incorporation?

Jim Harrison: Nipomo should to be working toward incorporation now.

Guy Murray: Does or should the NCSD have any role in that process?

Jim Harrison: NCSD should play a major role in this process; they need to be the vocal point for informing the public of the process. The incorporation committee needs to continue working toward this goal. That hold harmless law makes it important to keep track of the position we are in with regard to the tax base in our area when we reach a point where we can pay for the services the county presently provides the community should incorporate and bring local control to our area. My fear is that Nipomo will wait too long much as other communities have waited in this county and are required to pay large sums of money from their tax base to the county. We need to make sure we do not reach that point prior to gaining local control over our tax base and our community.

I think two of Jim’s strongest points are: Nipomo’s Incoproration and increased NCSD powers, as well as studying the feasilibity of a desalination plant here in Nipomo. I urge Nipomo’s voters to vote for Jim Harrison on November 7, 2006.

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