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GRASS VALLEY, Calif. August 28, 2019 – During today’s NID board meting, General Manager Rem Scherzinger gave his customary General Manager’s Report to the Board of Directors. After discussing storage and long-term weather outlook, he mentioned almost in passing that NID was suspending any real estate acquisitions.

A temporary but indefinite suspension of acquisitions

A memo by Scherzinger, distributed at the meeting after his announce, reads as follows:

The District has historically received offers to sell from owners of real property that might be necessary for District projects under consideration or situated in a location of interest to the District, such as areas important to the District’s existing facilities and watersheds. These offers have been unsolicited. As you are aware, these prior projects were and remain in the planning stages, with uncertainty as to whether or to what extent the projects may be implemented. No announcement was made by the District of an intent to acquire the properties. Nonetheless, when the proffered sale presented a potential opportunity, it was the District’s practice to carefully consider – and on some occasions accept-the offer.

As set forth below, that former, customary practice of the District is being suspended. Effective immediately, the District is suspending all real property fee acquisitions for potential projects. Potential projects include:

1. Projects that have not received final approval (including encumbrance of funds) from the NID Board of Directors, including projects that are currently undergoing environmental review under CEQA, but have not been certified or adopted by the NID Board of Directors;

2. Projects or actions where CEQA review has not yet been initiated; and

3. Exempt CEQA projects.

This temporary suspension applies District-wide and to all NID departments and divisions.

Centennial dam implications

The proposed Centennial project is not abandoned following this suspension. However, the district appears to refocus their priority on existing infrastructure and the proposed dam is receding further on the priority list.

Background

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NID Board members voted on July 24th to cut the 2019 adopted budget by 5% as a rate increase agreed upon by Board members was less than anticipated by the cost study. The loss of revenue prompted a review of the overall budget.

During their August 14th meeting, a closed session item dealt with real estate acquisitions in the Bear River canyon, within the footprint of the proposed Centennial dam project. At the end of the closed session, NID’s Counsel simply announced the General Manager and Counsel had been given direction regarding the APN numbers referenced in the agenda.

The 20-second announce did not give the details of the directions, it is however reasonable to assume the NID Board came to a decision regarding the suspension of acquisitions at that time.

This is a developing story, check back for updates and additional stories on the subject.

2 replies on “NID suspends all real estate acquisitions, effective immediately”

  1. This is wonderful news. However some inaccuracies must be addressed if we indeed want an honest accounting of the history of this land acquisition. The following is taken from official NID Board Meeting Minutes:

    According to the official Nevada Irrigation District meeting minutes of January 14, 2015; James Conrads addressed the NID Board regarding a property purchase at 15052 Magnolia Road. He and his wife were in escrow and at the end of the inspection period. The real estate agent received an all-cash, no contingency back-up offer from the (Nevada Irrigation) District, as well as a message to pass along to the Conrads. The message, and he quoted, “NID will own this property one way or the other.” The message also confirmed that the District would institute eminent domain and condemnation proceedings, if necessary. The agent, Raphael Carricato, operating on behalf of the District, was not authorized to provide any details about what the property action was stemming from, only that the offer was made by the (Nevada Irrigation) District.
    Mr. and Mrs. Conrads decided to abandon the transaction before other deposits were in jeopardy. He had incurred a significant amount of escrow costs associated with the investigation of the property. He filed a claim for reimbursement with Mr. Crough, (assistant General Manager of NID) and has had a number of conversations with him. He and his wife are asking the Board for any consideration or accommodation to reimburse the Conrads the significant costs, including legal fees.
    Mr. Conrads stated that he is looking to set roots and start a farm and family in the Nevada County area. He has spent a great deal of money on the escrow for the property on Magnolia Road that he and his wife entered into and later abandoned. He is asking for good will. He pointed out that the District “got a great value” for the property. He is asking for the District to understand his position, and he expressed appreciation for the Board’s consideration.
    The NID Board, Directors Drew, Weber, Bachman, Miller, and Wilcox rejected the claim by James Conrads. End of meeting minutes.

    This property is one of many that have been purchased in Bear River Canyon. The idea of the willing sellers is not true.

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