Patterson won't go into Turlock Irrigation District

Bee Staff ReportsMay 16, 2013 

— A judge has rejected the city's bid to be annexed into the Turlock Irrigation District, which supplies its electricity.

Patterson officials had sought annexation of the city and nearby land so residents could vote for the board that sets their power rates.

Judge Roger Beauchesne, ruling in Stanislaus County Superior Court on a lawsuit filed in 2011, agreed to the TID's request to block the annexation.

The district argued that it could be forced to provide irrigation water as well as power to the West Side if the Patterson area were added to its boundaries.

City Manager Rod Butler said Thursday that the City Council will consider its next step in closed session Tuesday. An appeal is among the options.

"They will be receiving an update from the city's legal team about the available options in light of the recent court ruling," Butler said in an email.

At issue is the 144,805-acre serv-ice area that Pacific Gas & Electric Co. sold to the TID in 2003. It includes Patterson, Crows Landing, Diablo Grande and other land up to the Santa Clara County line.

The expansion was not an annexation, so it did not give the residents the right to vote or run for the TID board. Patterson tried to change that through an application to the Stanislaus Local Agency Formation Commission.

A TID attorney said in 2011 that the concern lies in a state law stating that residents of an annexed area "shall have the same rights and duties" as people in the original boundaries.

TID officials said an annexation could prompt farmers in the Patterson area to demand part of its Tuolumne River supply. It has been more stable than the water sources for the smaller irrigation districts on the West Side, which have seen cutbacks in recent years because of drought and fish protections.

The TID could have to supply up to 44,000 acres on top of the 150,000 or so in its current service area, General Manager Casey Hashimoto said in a 2011 report to his board. The acreage could go even higher if some of the hilly land west of Patterson were made suitable for irrigation, he said.

All this would require reservoirs, pumps and a conveyance under the San Joaquin River, Hashimoto said.

City officials said they had no interest in getting water from the TID.

Modesto Bee is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service