November 28, 2007

Lucerne Valley finds solution on water

Daily Press

LUCERNE VALLEY — Lucerne Valley residents avoided an overwhelming increase in hauled water fees by banding together to help a local well owner, San Bernardino County administrators decided today.

After hearing the announcement Tuesday night that water loads from the Midway Park well would increase from $1 to $167, residents decided to help a local man with testing and certification fees to access his well.

Max McNeeley had lost business because of the low prices offered at the county well and had planned on shutting his down.

Last night to avoid the increase at Midway Park, citizens began passing around a hat for donations to help McNeeley keep his well open.

Midway Park was set up as a temporary well after a sting operation in August that shut down unlicensed wells and water haulers and left many residents without water while temperatures were well over 100 degrees.

The county well was shut down as of Wednesday, but county agreed to stay open temporarily if McNeeley’s well ever became overwhelmed or had any problems, said Michael Orme, district director for Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt.

“It’s good to see the community come together to help one of their own,” Orme said.

County officials are working on a price for loads from Midway Park if it does have to reopen for temporary use.

Orme said it is around $50, far less than the original number because they won’t have to fully staff the well and make the necessary upgrades for full-time usage. The Board of Supervisors will still have to approve the price.