WATSONVILLE — Dennis Osmer, who has served on the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency for more than six years, has resigned from the agency’s board of directors, effective Jan. 14.
Osmer was initially appointed to the position in 2006 and was re-elected later that year and in 2010 to serve a four-year term.
He cited increasing responsibilities at Watsonville-based Central Coast Energy Services, where he is executive director.
“In the next six months I’m faced with completing a really challenging project at work,” he said. “It’s really unfortunate, but I can’t handle everything that’s on my plate.”
Osmer added that he will also continue serving as chairman of the board at Bay Federal Credit Union.
“That’s dear to my heart,” he said.
Central Coast Energy Services is a nonprofit organization that provides energy conservation, consumer education, home improvement, utility assistance, job training, and other services to low-income people in Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties.
Osmer said he has helped develop a database for the company that helps track customer service, utility assistance and weatherization jobs that is being used by about 40 other energy management agencies throughout California.
Osmer said he wants to dedicate his time as CCES prepares for a major upgrade to the database.
“It’s something I started 14 years ago when I became program director,” he said. “It’s developed and we’ve shared it with other agencies. It’s become popular, and now it's time to update it.”
Osmer said the move was not political, unlike his November 2009 resignation as board chairman, when he cited conflicts with fellow board member John G. Eiskamp.
Osmer said he is leaving the embattled PVWMA as it prepares to deal with ongoing groundwater overdraft issues and with controversial rate increases.
The agency is set to approve a Basin Management Plan that will mean a groundwater overdraft for the next 30 years and that he does not support, he said.
“You cut everything else away, and that’s what you’re left with,” he said. “We’re using water that’s 10,000 years old. We’ll never replace it.”
Osmer was at the helm of the PVWMA when it battled lawsuits over water fees and as the agency looked for ways to ameliorate water overdraft in the Pajaro Valley Basin.
He also served on the administrative finance committee when the agency was nearing bankruptcy due to litigation related to how the fees were collected.
“His contribution towards leading PVWMA out of its darkest period cannot be overstated,” said Mary Bannister, general manager of the agency.
Bannister credited Osmer with developing a database that allowed the agency to refund more than $11 million to customers between 2008 and 2011, which represented more than 11,000 individual payments.
Osmer also served on the ad-hoc committee that helped to run the agency when a court decision eviscerated its budget. and negotiated with the US Bureau of Reclamation to get approximately $11 million in federal funding for the Watsonville Recycled Water Treatment Facility.
The PVWMA Board of Directors will accept applications prior to appointing Osmer’s replacement at their Feb. 20 meeting. For information, visit www.pvwma.dst.ca.us.
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