Thursday, February 22, 2024

Cataldo Water District board members facing recall, resign

Staff Writer | January 6, 2023 1:00 AM

KINGSTON — The embattled Cataldo Water District board is no more.

Last month, Shoshone County Clerk Tamie Lewis-Eberhard approved five petitions to recall the water district's five board members — Ed Hanson, Daniel Waldo, Lisa Eaton, Daniel Peterson and Cathleen House — who all resigned their positions, effective Dec. 30.

The recall effort, led by Kingston resident Dawn Hauff, came after several recent incidents in which the water district's employees, customers and the board itself clashed concerning the direction the taxing district was going following the approval of its 2022-23 budget – which included a steep rate increase.

Many of the district's 250 customers were enraged by the decision to increase their bills from $28 per month to $45, plus an additional $1.50 for every 1,000 gallons of water used. This is a significant change for customers who had been paying less while receiving their first 10,000 gallons of water per month free under previous budgets.

Those rate increases, along with a 2022-23 budget hike from $85,900 to $187,825, have fueled the recall efforts.

Increases in prices for materials, upgrades and the rent on the building where the water district housed its offices have been cited by the district as the major reasons behind the increases — but that hasn’t curbed vitriol between the groups.

The district’s two clerks also resigned their positions, meaning that as of press time, the only employee of the district is its lone maintenance worker.

According to Lewis-Eberhard, after mailing each of the five board members letters informing them of the approved petition, they were given two options: resign or go through an election process to see if their recall was the wish of the majority of the district’s electors.

“I received notification by Dec. 30, 2022, that three of the board were resigning immediately,” Lewis-Eberhard said. “I was not contacted by the other two, but I was told that they resigned following the last board meeting.”

She is now working with the county’s legal department to determine the next steps needed in order to restore the board.

“Priority at this point is to obtain a full board to carry out the water district business,” Lewis-Eberhard said. “I expect to have guidance by the end of this week.”

Customers of the Cataldo Water District can still call the district’s phone number, because, allegedly, the messages are being checked regularly.

Bills can also still be paid. They simply need to be mailed in.

To report an issue contact the Cataldo Water District at 208-682-3581.

To mail a payment, send it to P.O. Box 211, Kingston, ID 83839.