Water officials set to dissolve Valencia Water Company



Santa Clarita Valley water officials begin the task of dissolving the Valencia Water Company, a private company owned by a public agency, Tuesday night.

They also have the leftover task of electing a second vice-president.

The 15 members of the Board of Directors who make up the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency are scheduled to meet for the second time Tuesday. Their first meeting, Jan. 1, resolved to add a second vice president, but did not assign a board member.

The public meeting gets underway at 6:30 p.m. in what is now the former Castaic Lake Water Agency building on Bouquet Canyon Road, overlooking Central Park.

Santa Clarita Valley’s brand new all-encompassing water agency officially came into being on Jan. 1.

After two years of meeting about ways to merge SCV’s water wholesaler — the CLWA, and one SCV’s three main water retailers, the Newhall County Water District — representatives of both agencies created a plan for one new water agency.

Governor Jerry Brown made that plan official Oct. 15, when he signed Senate Bill 634 into law.

The plan calls for the immediate dissolution of the Valencia Water Company, which the CLWA had purchased in terms of controlling shares five years ago.

Members of the new water agency — the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency — have until the end of the month to take the appropriate steps in authorizing the dissolution of the VWC.

By Jan. 31, the SCVWA must not only dissolve the company, but must transfer the company’s assets, property, liability and debts to the SCV Water Agency.

The bill that created the new water agency also demands that the dissolution and transfer of the VWC be finalized by May 1.

Staffers at the new agency, employees of both the CLWA and NCWD now working together, have drafted a plan of action to effect this transaction by the end of the month.

To that end, they have put a recommendation before the SCV Water Agency’s Board of Directors recommending that they adopt their “Plan of Dissolution.”

The plan has already been approved by VWC’s board of directors, who are not publicly elected officials.

The recommendation the SCVWA board is to consider Tuesday night authorizes General Manager Matt Stone to take the necessary steps on behalf of the SCVWA “to implement the plan and carry out the dissolution according to Senate Bill 634.”

The plan calls not only for the complete transfer of assets and liability of VWC, but also the transfer of VWC employees.

Under the plan, Valencia Water Company employees will become employees of the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency on Jan. 20.

The CLWA, a public agency with an elected board and SCV’s water wholesaler, bought up Valencia Water Company’s stock in December 2012.

How VWC came to be CLWA

Before the stock purchase, Valencia Water Company, founded in 1965, belonged to Newhall Land Development Inc.

About a year after the CLWA purchased VWC stock, the California Public Utilities Commission accepted a conclusion made by Administrative Judge Todd O. Emister, who said, that since publicly owned Castaic Lake bought out Valencia Water in a stock purchase, Valencia was now part of a public agency, and thus not subject to Public Utilities Commission oversight.

At that point, VWC wasn’t private enough for the consumer protection commission and not public enough to have elected members.

The water company’s days of ambiguity are expected to end once the SCVWA dissolves the VWC completely according to the demands of SB 634, paving the way for publicly elected officials to represent its ratepayers.

[email protected]


On Twitter @jamesarthurholt


Related To This Story

Latest NEWS