Pioneer Irrigation District To Increase
Irrigation Tax Assessment By $5 Per Acre
Caldwell--Rising costs of electricity, fuel, chemicals, taxes and insurance have forced the Pioneer Irrigation District to raise its 2013 irrigation assessment by $5 per acre, a 7.6 percent increase over the 2012 assessment and the first increase in five years, the District Board of Directors said today.
“The Board really hated to raise the costs to our patrons; we have managed to keep the assessments the same for the past five years. The District has absorbed the increasing costs with internal expense cuts. Pioneer has delayed equipment purchases, prioritized projects and not filled employment vacancies and has had to use some of our rainy day funds. But over the same period, power costs increased by 45.7 percent, ditch maintenance chemicals increased 59.3 percent and the District currently has some large maintenance projects that need to be addressed,” said Alan Newbill, Chairman of the Pioneer Board.
Pioneer’s 2013-14 budget is actually $71,884.00 less than it was for 2012-2013. The District now operates with one less employee than it did five years ago. In the meantime over the past five years, the District’s annual chemical costs went up $105,000, electricity costs jumped $81,000 annually and employee health and life insurance costs increased by $43,000, Newbill added.
Pioneer’s Board of Directors set the 2013 operation and maintenance assessments at $71 per acre. The Board did not increase the Assessment Expense charge of $20 per account. The 2013 assessment means the cost for a 1-acre or smaller lot will be $91 total while cost for an 80-acre parcel of land will go up by $400, according to Erica Slayton, Pioneer Secretary/Treasurer.
“The District has always run extremely lean in its operation but there was just no more fat that could be cut to make up the difference. The Board agonized over what course to take but really had no choice but to pass some of the costs along to our patrons,” Slayton added.
The assessment notices will go out to Pioneer patrons in October. Property owners will have the option of paying their 2013 assessments in full by December 20, or in two payments: the first half by December 20 and the remainder by June 20, 2014. For more information about the assessment visit the Pioneer website at www.pioneerirrigation.com or contact the Pioneer office at 459-3617.
Pioneer Irrigation District has provided irrigation and agricultural drainage services to Ada and Canyon County land owners for more than a century. The District currently maintains about 5,800 accounts providing irrigation water to approximately 34,000 acres of residential and farmland in Canyon and Ada Counties.