bblcity-thumbGood news for Department of Water and Power customers outside of Big Bear Lake, who have long petitioned the City Council to expand appointment criteria for the DWP’s Board of Commissioners, to allow representation for the water utility’s customers in Lake Williams, Sugarloaf and Fawnskin—as, last night, Council moved forward in the process to open the requirements. Given the city charter established in the ’80s, when the Big Bear Lake Department of Water and Power was acquired, the five-member Board was to be made up of residents of the City of Big Bear Lake, though, as DWP Chairman Steve Foulkes noted at the September 14 Council meeting, “We’ve existed like this for 20 years, and I think maybe it’s time to expand.” Foulkes, who also served on the first DWP Board, did stress that despite the Council appointment of Big Bear Lake-only Commissioners, “From day one to today, the focus has always been on need, not geography”–meaning that the needs of the infrastructure of DWP have been the focus over, say, serving Big Bear Lake specifically. City Council had agendized this discussion for last night’s meeting and though there are concerns that a DWP bond default could negatively impact future financing for City and Improvement Agency projects, city attorney Steven Deitsch noted that this was only a remote possibility; Council will continue to look into bond specifics recently investigated by DWP’s General Manager Joel Dickson. In the meantime, Councilmember Darrell Mulvihill’s motion–to form a charter amendment sub-committee comprised of Mayor Rick Herrick, DWP Chair Foulkes, City Manager Jeff Mathieu and DWP GM Dickson, with attorney Deitsch on hand—was unanimously accepted. The sub-committee will look into the possibility of appointing at-large DWP Commissioners, who would serve the entire body of customers rather than a specific district; though this would go before Big Bear Lake voters in an election before the policy would change. Mayor Herrick, who has served on the DWP Board in the past, wrapped the discussion by saying, “Actually, I’m excited about this. We’ll move on with this issue, instead of continuing to pretend it doesn’t exist.”