I've been following the ins and outs of Merced Irrigation District’s budget shortfall and subsequent fee increase for the last couple of months. Since then it has been an important topic for farmers. While the board finally decided to have a protest vote on the fee, the issue doesn't seem to be able to go away.
Last Tuesday at MID's Board meeting, the coming protest vote over fee increases took one tiny step in a new direction. Supervisor Wil Hunter introduced an idea that would remove the voting process from MID's management whose budget relies on the passage of the fee increase. In the new process, a certified CPA would oversee the protest vote instead of MID management, among other things. Some may not like the protest vote at all, but at least now there will be no appearance of conflict of interest in the vote-counting. The board ultimately voted unanimously to proceed with this new approach.