Special election for controversial water district underway in Butte County
An election to create the formation of the Tuscan Water District is underway in Butte County.
The controversial district would encompass approximately 100,000 acres of mostly farmland between Chico and Durham, and play a large role in implementing the area’s Groundwater Sustainability Plan.
Butte County Clerk-Recorder Keaton Denlay told NSPR that the election for the district differs from others in one important respect.
“It’s not a general election like we would normally have,” Denlay said. “It’s a landowner getting votes equal to the value of their property. That’s what’s really casting the vote here is the value of the land.”
That means large property owners can cast proportionately more votes than smaller landowners.
In a previously canceled election for the district, votes would have been determined by acreage, not land value.
Denlay said how the water district is formed is stipulated under state law as presented by the Butte Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo), not the county.
“This is the California law that dictates it’s formed this way. It’s not something that my office has any control over,” Denlay said. “This came from LAFCo as the formation of a California water district.”
Denlay said there are just over 3,000 parcels within the boundaries of the proposed district.
Voting began earlier this month. Ballots must be returned by Dec. 5.
Denlay anticipates the results will be available within two weeks after the election.