For Immediate Release: Friday, November 11, 2016
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta, 209-479-2053, [email protected]
Delta Islands Purchase Violated MWD’s Own Administrative Code
No appraisal before land purchase
Stockton, CA — At the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s Real Property and Asset Management Committee Meeting of November 8, 2016, Metropolitan Water District (MWD) staff admitted that they did not acquire an independent appraisal of the Delta islands that they purchased, prior to the time of purchase, as required under Section 8221 of the District’s Administrative Code.
During the meeting, Metropolitan Board Member Keith Lewinger, who represents the San Diego County Water Authority on the MWD Board, asked staff if the appraisal for the Delta islands purchase had been completed. (Audio – “follow up items”/ Text) When staff replied that the appraisal had yet to be completed, General Manager Jeff Kightlinger moved to table the conversation, insisting that the appraisal will be completed in 2017.
As noted, section 8221 of the MWD Administrative Code requires an independent appraisal prior to a land purchase.
(b) If the acquisition price or annual payment for any real property is $500,000 or more, the real property shall have been appraised prior to acquisition by a qualified appraiser who shall be an independent appraiser, and, if deemed appropriate by the General Manager, by a second qualified appraiser.
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta, said, “Apparently Jeff Kightlinger is not concerned with following the District’s Administrative Codes. Worse, not having a timely appraisal leaves Metropolitan Water District ratepayers potentially on the hook for tens of millions of dollars for duck habitat if the Delta Tunnels are not approved. Southern California ratepayers will not have an accurate picture of what the land is worth, and could incur additional millions in liability for levees.
“If Mr. Kightlinger is not willing to follow his own agency’s Administrative Codes for this Delta land purchase, how can the people of the Delta be confident in Metropolitan Water District’s future stewardship of these lands? And how can the people of California trust the Metropolitan Water District to co-manage the Delta Tunnels project following the law regarding water quality and quantity standards as part of the Joint Powers Authority of the project? It seems to us that MWD will bend the rules any which way to move forward with construction of the Delta Tunnels, let alone future operation of the project.”