Rancho Santa Fe water district enacts pay, benefit cuts for directors


By Joe Tash

The Santa Fe Irrigation District Board of Directors took formal action to cut the pay and health benefits of its members at its meeting on Thursday, March 20.

The action followed a discussion last month, when the board voted to reduce its “per diem” payments for attending meetings from $200 to $150, and reduce the district-paid health benefits that directors are eligible to receive.

No members of the public spoke at a hearing on the issue, and no written or oral comments were submitted, said district general manager Michael Bardin.

The combined annual savings from the two actions, which were approved 4-0 by the board, with member John Ingalls absent, are $13,070, according to a staff report.

The action brings the board’s per diem payments to roughly the countywide average for water agencies. Before the changes approved at Thursday’s meeting, the district spent about $98,600 annually on director pay and benefits for the five-member board.

As of July 1, the district will only pay for health and dental benefits for a director and one dependent. Under the current rules, a director can receive coverage for his or her entire family.

Santa Fe directors are eligible to receive per diem payments for up to 10 meetings per month.

An informational item on Thursday’s agenda notes that in February, the board of the Rainbow Municipal Water District rejected a proposal to raise its directors’ per diem payments from $150 to $300, on a 3-2 vote.

The Santa Fe district’s operating budget for the current fiscal year is $22.3 million. The district serves a population of 19,400 in Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe and Fairbanks Ranch.