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10:22 PM Thu, Jan. 17th

Petition drive continuing to expand water service in Golden Valley Improvement District

A nine-year petition drive to extend water hookups to southwestern Golden Valley might get the required signatures by June, a supporter said.

"We only need 15 or 16 more signatures," real estate associate broker Jim Helwig.

Petition backers must get signatures representing at least 51 percent of the 384,641 frontage feet that would be involved in the project.

The petition drive has reached about 49 percent of the total, said Zelda Wright, supervisor for county improvement districts.

She said the petition drive is taking so long because 2.5-acre parcels account for only one-tenth of 1 percent of the overall frontage in the unserved area.

"A lot of people don't live there, so a lot of the petitions have to be mailed," Wright said.

She said the petition drive, if successful, would lead to waterlines extended to 3,112 acres south of state Route 68 from Estrella Road to the west.

While unserved by waterlines, the 783 parcels are located within the boundaries of the 40-square-mile Golden Valley Improvement District.

The district would hire an engineering firm to plan the waterlines and prepare a bid for contractors, Wright said.

The contractor would install a waterline on each one-mile section line and street.

The section lines are Egar and Guthrie roads, and Shinarump, Unkar, Bolsa and Redwall drives, Wright said.

Property owners are hauling their water from improvement district standpipes, which work like a card-operated fuel pump.

The standpipe closest to the petition area is located at Estrella Road and Bolsa Drive.

While standpipe water costs less than water delivered to homes, property owners with waterlines benefit from decreased homeowners insurance rates and increased property values.

"My homeowners insurance will be cut in half because there will be fire hydrants every 660 feet," Helwig said, citing an engineering report as his source of information.

Enhanced fire protection and can lead to lower insurance costs, Golden Valley Fire Chief Harry Nystedt said.

"It makes it a lot easier for us if we have water available," Nystedt said.

Helwig said he wants to see water service extended to his property so that he can install a sprinkler system for watering his trees.

He acknowledged that extending waterlines could be a financial burden for many property owners, who could face assessments of several thousands of dollars.

He said, however, that property owners have 10 years to pay off the bonds and interest payments and can apply for grants through the county if they meet the income requirements.

And if a property owner sells the land, the new owner would have to assume the remainder of the assessment, Helwig said.

Helwig said he pays Jimmy Smith to haul water to his property.

Smith, a 15-year-resident of Golden Valley, said he favors the petition drive even though extending water service may not be in his business interests.

He filled up a 1,500-gallon tank from water at a standpipe at Estrella and Bolsa April 2.

"It's good for everybody" to extend water service, Smith said.

"It increases the property values for everybody, including me."

Smith, who lives on Carrizo Road and has been hooked to water service for 15 years, said he will have plenty of business hauling water and can resell water tanks from properties hooked onto waterlines.

However, Smith is less optimistic than Helwig about the petition drive prevailing in the near future.

He expressed doubts because the drive is "all or nothing," not for street by street.