Helix Water District

LA MESA - MT. HELIX AUGUST ACTIVITIES

By Kristin Kjaero

August 1, 2015 (La Mesa) – What a vibrant community we live in! August boasts five free concerts, three free movie screenings, two theater productions, the annual Helix High All Class Picnic, and the annual heART of Mt. Helix. There are free clubs for every age and interest at the La Mesa Library a broad range of activities at the La Mesa Adult Enrichment Center, and a number of classes at the La Mesa Community Center start in August. For those who love nature there are a number of activities as Mission Trails Regional Park and the Water Conservation Garden, and for the fitness oriented there are several walking groups, aquatics, and even a boot camp. Get out and find your bliss, and while you’re at it meet your neighbors.

ASSEMBLYMAN BRIAN JONES TO HOST DROUGHT TOWN HALL AUG. 13

 

Participants include Padre Dam Municipal Water District, Helix Water District, the San Diego County Water Authority, Building Industry Association of San Diego, and the Water Reliability Coalition

July 21, 2015 (El Cajon) -- On Thursday, August 13th, 2015 Assemblyman Brian Jones (R-Santee) will be hosting a Drought Town Hall to educate constituents about the ongoing California drought, legislative solutions, and efforts to provide relief to the community.

HELIX WATER BOARD VOTES TO ADOPT DROUGHT ACTION PLAN

 

 

By Janis Russell and Miriam Raftery

May 21, 2015 (La Mesa)- At the board meeting yesterday, the Helix Water District board voted 4-1 for the drought action plan for increased public education and outreach, increased restrictions with two days/week for outdoor water use in tier 3, and a 10% penalty for using 31 units or more of water, effective starting with July 29th water bills.  The plan also limits watering to two days a week and cuts warning for water waste fines to just one courtesy letter. View the resolution here.

Tier-3 users will be charged 10% on water over 30 units each two-month billing period, but will not be charged 10% on the first 30 units, Mike Uhrhammer, senior public affairs representative at Helix, told ECM.  A person who exceeds the limit by 1 unit would pay 55 cents; while 50 units would be $11.02, for instance. See chart above left for details.  Average water use is 26 units over two months for the district.

“There is a variance procedure,” Uhrhammer said, citing a need to irrigate for defensible space or erosion control and undue hardships as examples. The penalties will not apply to tier 1, which is considered essential indoor water use level, or tier 2. Tier 3 is targeted because these residents use water mostly outdoors and the state is pushing districts to encourage homeowners to limit ornamental landscaping.

HELIX WATER DISTRICT TO CONSIDER IMPOSING NEW WATER CUTS

May 12, 2015 (La Mesa) – At their upcoming meeting Wednesday May 13, 4 p.m., the Board will discuss a Drought Action Plan to meet state imposed water cuts of 20% to the District, including limiting all customers to watering two days per week, requiring 10-20% cuts by residential tier 3 users with penalties for violations, and increased enforcement on water waste reports.

HELIX WATER TO HOLD WORKSHOP ON WATER RATE STRUCTURE FEB. 18

East County News Service

February 17, 2015 (La Mesa) – The Helix Water District Board meets Wednseday, February 18 at 2 p.m. (7811 University Ave., La Mesa).

The agenda includes a workshop on water rate structure cost of service. Oddly, as of Tuesday afternoon, the agenda packet did not include any details on a proposed water rate structure for the public to review prior to the meeting, raising questions over adequacy of public notice under the Ralph M. Brown Act.

HELIX WATER RESPONDS TO CORRUPTION CLAIMS

 

East County News Service

November 18, 2014 (La Mesa) – Following a 10 News investigation that cited anonymous whistleblowers claiming corruption by a Helix Water District inspector and a construction company, the Helix Water District has responded to East County Magazine’s request for comments.  Read highlights of the 10 News story with links to the full report here.

Ted Salois, senior public affairs representative for the district, offered this response. 

“We strive to be excellent stewards of our customers’ funds and work diligently every day to continue earning the public’s trust.  When some concerns about our contracting practices were raised, we immediately initiated our own internal audit and commissioned a thorough review by an outside firm," he said.

HELIX WATER CORRUPTION ALLEGED

 

UPDATE November 18, 2014 5 p.m. -- Helix Water District has responded to ECM's request for comments on the 10 News investigation.  Helix contends that an independent inquiry as well as an in-house audit found no irregularities.  You can read the Helix responses here.

 

View part 1 of the 10 News investigation here with links to documents and watch for part 2 airing tonight.

By Miriam Raftery

November 18, 2014 (La Mesa)—Whistleblowers are alleging that a Helix Water District inspector and a contractor conspired to overcharge ratepayers for work that was never done.

The district refused to be interviewed on camera about the allegations.  However an investigation by JW August at 10 News, an East County Magazine news partner, found documents that appear to substantiate some of the claims made by the whistleblowers, employees who spoke under condition that their names not be publicized due to fears of retribution.

East County Magazine has contacted Carlos Lugos, general manager at Helix, for comments on the 10 News investigation. We also inquired whether steps are being taken by the District to assure that overcharges are not made in the future. plus we asked whether competitive bids were obtained for the projects in question.  We will publish any responses once received.

HELIX APPROVES WATER RATE INCREASE

 

Fiscal year 2014-15 budget calls for 4.3 percent rate increase—far lower than the anticipated 6.2 percent

August 10, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - Helix Water District’s board of directors Wednesday revised the final budget for fiscal year 2014-15, including a rate increase of 4.3 percent for the average domestic-class customer who uses 25 units of water.  One unit is 748 gallons.  The increase amounts to $5.68 on the average bimonthly bill—well below the anticipated 6.2 percent or $8.23 increase that was approved last year as part of a two-year rate notice in accordance with requirements of Proposition 218.

HELIX WATER DECLARES DROUGHT LEVEL 2 ALERT: MANDATORY CONSERVATION MEASURES IMPOSED

 

Source: Helix Water District

August 7, 2014 (La Mesa)--Helix Water District’s board of directors voted yesterday to put Drought Level 2 into effect in response to the State Water Resources Control Board’s passage of mandatory water conservation measures to deal with the current drought.

Since February, the district had been in Drought Level 1, which called for numerous voluntary actions to eliminate water waste. Drought Level 2 makes them mandatory.  Residents and businesses are required to take the following conservation steps:

HELIX WATER BOARD ANNOUNCEMENT: NOTICE TO DECLARE CANDIDACY

 

August 4, 2014 (La Mesa) – Notice is hereby given that a General District Election will be held in the Helix Water District on Tuesday, November 4, 2014, for the following offices for which candidates may be nominated:

EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL MOVES FORWARD WITH PARTICIPATION IN EAST COUNTY REGIONAL WATER REUSE STUDY

 

Council also approves changes to fee schedules

By Janis Russell

July 30, 2014 (El Cajon)- Following an administrative hearing last week, El Cajon City Council voted unanimously to participate in the East County regional water reuse study.

HELIX WATER APPROVES BUDGET WITH LOWER RATE HIKE THAN PLANNED

 

Source: Helix Water District

June 14, 2014 (La Mesa)--Helix Water District’s board of directors on Tuesday approved a preliminary budget for fiscal year 2014-15 that calls for a rate increase of 4.5 percent for the average domestic-class customer.  The increase amounts to $5.93 on the average bimonthly bill—well below the anticipated 6.2 percent or $8.23 increase that was approved last year as part of a two-year rate notice in accordance with requirements of Proposition 218.

LAKE JENNINGS MONTH-OF-MARCH PHOTO CONTEST WINNERS ANNOUNCED

 

April 26, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - Helix Water District has selected 17 winning entries in its Lake Jennings Month-of-March Photo Contest.  Seventy-five submissions competed in two categories, adult and youth, for cash prizes of $100 for first places, $50 for second places and $25 for third places.  Honorable mentions receive ribbons and certificates.

SPECIAL MEETING ON LAKE JENNINGS FUTURE: MARCH 12 in LA MESA

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 11, 2014 (La Mesa)Helix Water District will hold a special meeting with the Lake Jennings Campground Committee and Board of Directors on Wednesday, March 12 at 5:30 p.m. at the District headquarters, 7811 University Avenue in La Mesa.

The meeting will include a PowerPoint presentation and discussion regarding activities, marketing, and suggested maintenance at the Lake Jennings campground.  The Board has previously indicated closure of the campgrounds is likely if additional funding sources are not found.

HELIX WATER TO WEIGH OPTIONS WEDNESDAY FOR FUTURE OF LAKE JENNINGS

 

Closure of popular recreation facility among options

By Miriam Raftery

 

November 3, 2013 (La Mesa) – At its meeting on Wednesday, November 6, Helix Water District will vote on whether to have staff prepared detailed reports on four options for the future of Lake Jennings. Those options include:

  • close the lake to the public and decommission campgrounds and fishing facilities,
  • limit public access to only hiking, picnicking and fishing- -but the lake would no longer be stocked with fish and campgrounds would be decommissioned,
  • Maintain camping and fishing and invest $1,600,000 to $3,600,000 in renovations, or
  • Create a master plan for renovation and expansion based on the 2007 Lake Jennings Campground Master Plan at a cost of $8 million to $15 million, with additional expenses for permitting, environmental impact and mitigation.

HELIX WATER PROPOSES NEW RULES TO CHANGE POWERS OF DIRECTOR, RESTRICT BOARD DISSENT, AND ALTER RULES FOR PUBLIC TESTIMONY

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 3, 2013 (La Mesa) – Last year, Helix Water Board member Chuck Muse sought to prohibit board members from speaking to the media in a clear effort to silence an outspoken member  critical of a rate hike.  The board stopped short of that likely-unconstitutional action, instead requiring board members to make clear that they are speaking as individuals, not representing the board’s position to media and the public. http://eastcountymagazine.org/node/10180

On its agenda for Wednesday, November 6, however, the Board is proposing new policies that would go much farther. While some policy changes aim to curb abuses by officials, others have a potential chilling effect on board members’ free speech. In addition, the new policy could allow limits on testimony from the public. (View board report on proposed guidelines and agenda.)

HELIX WATER DISTRICT CELEBRATES 100 YEARS AS A PUBLIC DISTRICT NOV. 6

November 2, 2013 (San Diego's East County) – Helix Water District will officially celebrate its 100th anniversary as a public district at the Administration Office Boardroom, 7811 University Avenue, La Mesa, California on Wednesday, November 6 at 5:00 p.m.

Helix Water District, which began as a private company called the San Diego Flume Company, went public as a result of a vote taken in the East County on November 1, 1913.   The La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Spring Valley Irrigation District was duly formed as a public special district under California's irrigation law.

HELIX WATER TO HOLD WORKSHOP SEPT. 13 ON FUTURE OF LAKE JENNINGS

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 5, 2013 (La Mesa) – Four years ago, Helix Water District took back management of Lake Jennings from the County.  But now the board is weighing options to reduce its operating costs or raise revenues generated by the 9,700 acre reservoir in Lakeside. Those options include closing the lake, offering a long-term lease to a neighboring district, or privatizing the lake’s facilities by turning over management to a company such as  KOA, which operates campgrounds nationwide.

On September 13 at 10 a.m., the District will hold a public workshop at its administration building, 7811 University Avenue in La Mesa. You can also send comments to the board at  board@helixwater.org

AUGUST 21 DEADLINE FOR PUBLIC COMMENT ON HELIX WATER PROPOSED RATE HIKE

 

By Janis Mork

July 24, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Helix Water District is looking to raise rates for its 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 fiscal years. For 2013-2014, proposed water rates for the domestic/ single customer - using 25 units bi-monthly - will increase six percent. Commercial/Multi-family customers will see a rate increase of three to eight percent. 

HELIX WATER DISTRICT REPORT NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE IN BOTH ENGLISH AND SPANISH

 

July 11, 2013 (La Mesa) – The Helix Water District Annual Water Quality Report is now available online in both English and Spanish.  Again this year, as in all prior years, Helix’s drinking water meets or exceeds all State and Federal drinking water standards. 

The annual 2013 Water Quality Report contains important information about drinking water in the Helix District.  The District encourages customers to read the report carefully and ask any questions they might have about water sources, quality, or distribution by contacting:  (619) 667-6248 or wqr@helixwater.org.

HELIX WATER TO HOLD WORKSHOPS ON WATER RATE HIKE PROPOSAL

 

June 2, 2013 (La Mesa) – The Helix Water District board will present its preliminary 2013-14 budget at a workshop June 4 from 9 a.m. to noon. View budget. here.

On June 5 at 3 p.m., the finance directors will present draft water rates and a proposed Proposition 218 notice set to be mailed to ratepayers June 27.  Water rates will be discussed at 6 p.m. on June 5.  A workshop to discuss the draft water rates and Proposition 218 notice is also set for June 19 at 6 p.m. at the Helix Water District Boardroom.

HELIX WATER TO RECOAT JOHNSTOWN TANK IN LAKESIDE

 

May 27, 2013 (Lakeside) – Helix Water District’s Johnstown Tank, located in Lake Jennings Park Estates off Harritt Road, Lakeside, is currently undergoing complete interior and exterior recoating. Work began on Monday, May 13, 2013. The project will take approximately six months to complete.

The viewshed for this tank includes a large area along the I-8 corridor west of the Lake Jennings Park Road exit.

Residents in the area should be aware of increased traffic, elevated noise levels, and a visual change to the tank’s surface.

FROM THE FLUME TO THE OZONE:NEXT IN THE HISTORICAL SPEAKER SERIES FEB. 7 IN EL CAJON

January 27, 2013 (El Cajon) -- El Cajon’s Centennial Historical Speaker series continues for 2013.  The next speaker is Ms. Kate Breece from Helix Water District, with a presentation titled “From the Flume to the Ozone.”

This talk is scheduled for Thursday, February 7th, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Downtown El Cajon Library, located at 201 East Douglas Avenue.  Talks are scheduled for the first and third Thursday of the month.  Light refreshments will also be provided.

HELIX WATER DISTRICT WILL HOLD PUBLIC HEARING AUGUST 15

 

August 2, 2012 (La Mesa) – The Board of Directors of Helix Water District will conduct a Public Hearing on proposed Water Rates August 15 at 6:00 p.m. at the Helix Water District Administration Office, 7811 University Avenue, La Mesa.  View the proposed water rate hikes here.

 

HELIX WATER VOTES FOR RATE HIKE; PUBLIC MEETING SET FOR JULY 10

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 27, 2012 (La Mesa) – By a 4-1 vote with Director Kathleen Hedberg dissenting, the Helix Water District board of directors voted to approve a water rate study that recommends rate hikes.  The increase would average 4.7 percent, or $2.75 a month for the average water user, though owners of larger properties face substantially heftier increases.

MUSE PROPOSED MUZZLING HELIX WATER BOARD MEMBERS FROM SPEAKING TO MEDIA

By Miriam Raftery

June 27, 2012 (La Mesa) –Helix Water Board director Chuck Muse sought to have the District prohibit fellow Board directors from speaking to  reporters, ECM has learned.  

Board President DeAna Verbeke stopped short of such drastic measures, but  did chastise directors to refrain from “negative personal comments” about board members or the District,” admonishing that during past rate hike considerations, “discussing the District’s business did not reflect well on the individual of the District.”

WATER AGENCIES HOST SAN DIEGO COUNTY GARDEN FRIENDLY PLANT FAIRS THIS SPRING, INCLUDING SEVERAL IN EAST COUNTY

 
Events feature discounts on low-water-use plants, information from gardening experts

February 21, 2012 (San Diego County) -- San Diego County residents interested in making their yards and gardens more attractive and water efficient will have an opportunity to get information from gardening experts and save up to 50 percent on select varieties of low-water-use plants at San Diego County Garden Friendly Plant Fairs this spring at select The Home Depot locations.
 

MT HELIX AREA TO HAVE WATER SHUT-OFF 10 HOURS ON THURS. NOV. 17 DUE TO PIPELINE REPLACEMENT

 

November 1, 2011 (Mt. Helix) --As part of a larger cast iron pipeline replacement project, Helix Water District crews will replace two 60-year-old valves at Mt. Helix Drive and Vivera Drive and install a new valve at Mt. Helix Drive and Alto Drive on Thursday, November 17.

Much of Mt. Helix is served by a single pipeline. As a result, construction activity will create a 10-hour water shutdown between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 242 customers on 20 streets in the vicinity.

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