Iverson to replace Renstrom on water district board as Renstrom prepares to assume general manager role

Commissioner Victor Iverson listens to a discussion of appointments to the Washington County Water Conservancy District's board of trustees during a meeting of the Washington County Commission, St. George, Utah, Dec. 4, 2018 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

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.

L-R: Commissioners Victor Iverson and Zachary Renstrom during a discussion about appointments to the Washington County Water Conservancy District’s board of trustees during a meeting of the Washington County Commission, St. George, Utah, Dec. 4, 2018 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

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.

Read more: ‘Unwise water use’; Property tax hike condemned by public hearing attendees

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.

Commissioner Dean Cox during a discussion about appointments to the Washington County Water Conservancy District’s board of trustees during a meeting of the Washington County Commission, St. George, Utah, Dec. 4, 2018 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“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.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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9 Comments

  • Not_So_Much December 11, 2018 at 8:17 am

    No surprises here. Wake up voters, unless you really want more of the same. The same being building a $2 or $3 BILLION dollar pipeline, excessive growth everywhere you look and most importantly a very small group calling all the shots. The winners will be greedy developers and those tied to them, everyone else looses.

  • Borowiak Mark December 11, 2018 at 9:57 am

    Did I read this right, the Commission appoints the board and they appointed a Commissioner? Why not just say the mayors and commissioners will be the board. I applied just to let people know they had an option who would question the pipeline and tax increases. However I knew the insiders would have none of that.

  • Brian December 11, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    There are two changes we desperately need in Washington County:

    1) There should be 5 county commissioners that are tied to specific districts so that commissioner looks out for the welfare of the members of that district (for instance, the needs of those in rural, unincorporated Washington County aren’t really getting equal representation right now). The district boundaries should accurately reflect the lifestyle (rural vs city) and population distribution of the county.

    2) ALL members of the WCWCD board should be elected, also based on districts (7 may be the right number here). They should be directly accountable to people within those districts, and should be required to live within those districts.

    These two changes would go a long way to increasing transparency and accountability in Washington County, and especially with the WCWCD.

  • beacon December 11, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    Agree, Brian! These decks are so stacked as to make sure things continue as they are, which is not what we need!

  • DRT December 11, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    Speaking of transparency, I wonder what Mr. Thompson’s retirement package looks like.

  • tazzman December 11, 2018 at 4:09 pm

    Having elected officials serving in another capacity on the board is NOT having elected people serving on the board for that purpose. The mayors are elected by their voters as MAYORS. That is representative government. Having those same people serving on the WCWCD is an indirect election. That is NOT the same as being elected to that board.

    Open the board to elections.

  • Redbud December 11, 2018 at 8:51 pm

    The democrats moving here from California will soon be chanting “Build that pipe! Build that pipe!”

    • Comment December 13, 2018 at 1:09 pm

      Right, that’s why it’s the Wash Co dems leading the opposition to the thing while every LDS republican around here is in favor of it. You’re a liar and a troll. 😉

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