Local News

Tuesday, Dec 18 2012 12:01 AM

Safety bonuses reward district employees

Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District has been rewarding safe work practices for more than 20 years.

And this year will be no different as directors unanimously approved a resolution at last week's board meeting to provide $500 safety awards to each of the district's 16 full-time employees who have worked one full year without any safety violations, accidents or injuries.

"The program has demonstrated benefits," General Manager John Martin said. "Not only for the employees who go home to their families have every night, but it also had financial benefits for the district."

In addition to the value of its healthy employees, the district's good safety record has kept its workers compensation experience modification ratio, at a low for many years.

The modification ratio adjusts annual premiums based on previous loss experience, and as a result saved the district $12,000 in 2012.

Payday for district

Many years ago, as the result of a lawsuit, a settlement allocation fund was established by the Kern County Water Agency for the purpose of purchasing surplus water from its member districts having water to sell during a single year, and then subsidizing the price for districts wanting to buy during the same year.

A good idea at one time, however, entitlement reductions, increased requirements for State Water Project water and environmental and legal restrictions have rendered the fund unusable, and the money set aside.

On November 14, 2012, the KCWA Board adopted a resolution approving that the $4.1 million remaining in the fund be re-distributed.

Once KCWA has received approval of the resolution from all member units, including the TCCWD, an estimated $76,745 will be distributed into the district's state payment fund to help reduce the burden on its taxpayers.

Other items approved

Several items from October's meeting on the Nov. 21 agenda were approved by directors, including a long-term purchase contract with Shell Energy for of natural gas that would allow the district to stabilize water rates, and the purchase of a new hybrid vehicle through the East Kern Air Pollution Control District's Motor Vehicle Emissions Reduction Program.

The maximum amount approved by the program is $16,400, or 41 percent of the cost of the replacement vehicle, making the districts share approximately $25,000 to $27,000.

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