Barney Metz, District Manager
Barney Metz is the District Manager of Lewiston Orchards Irrigation District. He and his family are residents of the Lewiston Orchards.
The District Manager carries out the duties and responsibilities as assigned by the Board of Directors. He executes the policies and decisions of the Board and reviews and recommends to the Board changes in rules and regulations. He gives overall direction to employees and oversees the work necessary to provide water to our patrons. He represents the Board and our organization with all levels of the government, community and general public.
Message from the District Manager...
A recent "Letter to the Editor" in the Lewiston Morning Tribune posed some questions that DESERVE answers:
“LOID will only allow you to make your payments twice a year.”
LOID will accept payments towards a patron’s irrigation assessment or domestic water bill any time a patron can pay towards their debts. Irrigation assessments are mailed in October of each year and are due by December 20th per Idaho Code 43-707. The Idaho Code further elaborates that if any person shall pay one-half (1/2) of his assessment on or before December 20th, the remaining one-half (1/2) shall not become delinquent until the twentieth day of June. The State Law requires the LOID to file a delinquency notice (commonly referred to as a lien) for each unpaid assessment with the County in July. Delinquent assessments incur a penalty, interest and a filing fee. This process is set forth by Idaho statute for all irrigation districts across the state. Once the assessment is paid, the LOID clears the notice of delinquency with the County.
“At this point I paid three-fourths of my bill and was getting one-eighth of the water for it.”
The LOID provides two services to most properties within the LOID boundaries, domestic water and irrigation water. There are no restrictions on domestic water and a patron can water with as much water and pay for the usage as with any other water purveyor in the area. The irrigation assessment is not for a specific quantity of water, it is for a water right. That water right is for a portion of what amount of water is available to the District. We cannot control whether or not Mother Nature produces moisture for us to collect on Craig Mountain . The patrons of the District have repeatedly turned down bond issues in an attempt to go to the Clearwater River for a more reliable source of irrigation water.
“They send out the water police in their new $50,000 trucks to give you a ticket”
LOID has a rotational schedule for its fleet that maximizes the maintenance costs versus any resale value that the LOID can get out of the vehicle. Most of our trucks cost less than $30,000 under the bid process that is established by state law. We feel it is very important to wisely use the monies that the patrons put forth towards the operational costs of the District.
“No warning, no letter to try to work out payments.”
The LOID mails irrigation assessments in October. If the assessment is not paid in full by December 20th, the LOID mails a reminder notice in May as a courtesy to our customers. This notice is on solid green card stock. After June 20th, the assessment is considered delinquent and the delinquency must be filed with the County. We file delinquent assessments with the County in July. The LOID will accept payment on these assessments anytime during business hours or by mail. The District also provides a drive-thru drop box and a walk-up lock box for added convenience. We have several patrons who prefer to pay their irrigation assessment in monthly installments. Although we do not send out monthly statements or bills, we are happy to accommodate those interested in this option.
“Something needs to be done to help low-income people not lose their house over $48 without warning.”
The LOID never wants to take a person’s property. We are held by state law to follow certain procedures. Once a lien is three years old, the District is required to seek a tax deed on the property. The District goes to amazing lengths to work with the patron to avoid placing a tax deed on a person’s property.
The wonderful news is that many people in the community stepped up to pay the remainder of the author’s irrigation assessment so that the lien could be cleared. It is wonderful to live in a community where people care enough to come forth and help out other patrons.
If you have more concerns or questions relating to this manner, please call the District. The District wants to help its patrons and does not want fallacies spread about what service we provide.