ST. GEORGE — With Zachary Renstrom’s departure from the Washington County Commission at the end of the year, his position on the board of trustees for the county’s water district will be taken by Commissioner Victor Iverson.
Iverson was appointed to fill Renstrom’s position on the board during the County Commission’s Dec. 4 meeting.
Renstrom is leaving the commission at the end of the year to join the Washington County Water Conservancy District, where he will replace retiring general manager Ron Thompson at the end of 2019.
Renstrom’s seat on the district’s board of trustees was one of four up for grabs this year. The others included seats held by longtime board member Ed Bowler, St. George Mayor Jon Pike and Washington City Mayor Ken Neilson.
Water district board positions are appointed by the County Commission; board members are countywide representatives who oversee district activities. Daily operations are overseen by district employees, including the general manager, who answers to the board.
The board of trustees also oversees the budget and recently approved the water district’s budget for 2019, which includes an increase in property taxes.
Over the last four years the County Commission has made it a matter of practice to appoint elected officials to the board, such as the mayors of cities that buy water from the district. Since the board members themselves aren’t elected, the County Commission has said appointing elected officials is a way of keeping the board accountable to voters.
“I would be one of the first to say I have a great deference to individuals who are elected by the residents who represent them on this important board,” County Commissioner Dean Cox said during the Dec. 4 meeting.
Renstrom’s position on the board was seen as being representative of the voters in the county’s unincorporated communities. He persuaded Iverson to apply for his seat.
“It’s important that residents in our small communities and other areas of the county have someone who’s elected that can stand for them on this board,” Cox said.
Iverson agreed that putting more elected officials on the board of trustees was a good move yet jokingly said he wasn’t sure what Renstrom had talked him into.
A call for applications for the open board seats was issued in October, with the county receiving many applications from qualified individuals, Cox said.
However, with the exception of Iverson’s appointment, the commission voted to reappoint to Bowler, Neilson and Pike. Renstrom recused himself from the vote given his pending transition to the water district.
Other members of the board include rancher Howard Bracken, Ivins Mayor Chris Hart and Hurricane City Councilman Kevin Tervort.
Bowler and Bracken are the only nonelected individuals on the board. They represent the smaller water companies and agricultural water users within the county.
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