Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency board member BJ Atkins told The Signal Thursday he has delayed his plan to resign from the board, due to construction delays on a house he is building outside of the agency’s jurisdiction.
Atkins, whom voters re-elected in November 2020, told The Signal last December that he would resign in May or July 2021.
“Everything’s been pushed back about two months,” he said, citing cost increases in construction materials. “There’s a buzz of construction … so we’ve been delayed.”
Atkins said he’s relocating to San Diego County to be closer to his grandchildren.
Though Atkins plans to relocate to his new home when it’s completed, he said he has maintained a residential address in Division 3, the district he represents on the board.
“I still have a residential address in Division 3. My business (and) my mailing address (are) in Division 3. I’m sitting in my office in Valencia, (which) is also in Division 3,” he said. “I’m still serving and I will serve until I actually need to relocate…at that point I’ll need to resign, which I think will be mid- to late-September.”
Atkins, a member of the Newhall County Water District board before the formation of the SCV Water Agency in 2018, said he’s enjoyed his time on the board.
“We just have done some amazing things in the face of brand-new challenges like PFAS,” he said of the manmade chemical that can cause adverse health effects.
Atkins said he’s proud to see SCV Water and its management team adopting the philosophy of the former Newhall County Water District.
“I think it’s the best way to approach distributing water, because it’s all about putting the ratepayer at the top of the pyramid,” he said.
Atkins also expressed his support for board President Gary Martin and board’s vice presidents Daniel Mortensen and Jerry Gladbach.
“I’m thrilled to see the unity and collaboration among the management team and virtually all the workers,” said Atkins. “They’re starting to work together in a way that always saves (ratepayers) money and provides the highest quality of customer service.”
Atkins’ resignation will leave an open seat that will need to be filled, per Senate Bill 634 — the legislation that created SCV Water.
The board can either call for an election within 60 days of Atkins’ resignation or appoint someone to fill the seat within two months. Board members could also not take any action, prompting the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to appoint a replacement.
SB 634 requires the 12-member board – originally at 15 members in 2018 – to become nine by January 2023.