MONTEREY >> Monterey Peninsula water officials are poised to consider holding a joint discussion on the potential for public ownership of the local water system.
On Thursday, the Peninsula mayors Regional Water Authority board is scheduled to discuss setting a joint meeting with the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District to discuss a number of water supply issues, including the ramifications of another effort to buy-out California American Water’s local water system.
According to water authority Executive Director Jim Cullem, the focus of such a meeting would be discussing whether the water management district should start preliminary work on a potential take-over attempt, which could seek to require the water district to conduct a feasibility study of any such effort.
“The intent is to get ahead of the curve,” Cullem said, adding that water district analysis could help inform any effort “rather than relying on the (public buy-out) proponents.”
A water authority staff report noted “strong public interest” in the issue.
Public Water Now managing director George Riley, whose organization is proposing a second take-over attempt, said he would welcome a public discussion of the issue.
Riley indicated in an email last week that Public Water Now was planning to begin collecting signatures in October on a petition aimed at placing a public buyout measure on the November 2018 general election ballot. The organization also backed the failed 2014 buyout measure, falling short of approval by about 10 percent in an election that saw Cal Am outspend proponents by millions of dollars on the campaign.
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