The Wahkiakum County Eagle

Local News

PUD board covers lots of ground

Published on Wed, Dec 18, 2013 by Diana Zimmerman

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Representatives from the office of U.S Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler made an appearance at the Wahkiakum County PUD Board of Commissioners meeting this Tuesday to ascertain the needs of the local utility.


“One of the things I keep my eye on is anything that is going to erode the local control of the PUDs," Commissioner Dennis Reid told Herrera Beutler’s district director, Ryan Hart. “We think the control is right where it needs to be with locally elected boards. Without local control I don’t think you’re going to have public power.”


During the General Manager’s report, Dave Tramblie informed the board that 14 valve lids had been removed from a main in the Deep River logging area. When he reported the loss to the sheriff’s department, he discovered that the PUD were not the only ones that had suffered a loss due to theft in the area.


Tramblie said he was also grateful that the new substation was online, for during the recent cold snap, more power had been used than ever before.


Commissioner Bob Jungers asked about the status of negotiations between the PUD and Town of Cathlamet over the interlocal agreement for water to Puget Island.


    Tramblie replied, “We have an agenda and a schedule. I think we’ll make headway.”


Auditor Erin Wilson informed the board that there was currently $609 in the Residential Energy Assistance fund. She also shared what she had learned at a recent meeting in Seattle about two new fees that will go into effect with health care reform.


    One, the Transitional Reinsurance fee, will go to insurance providers to offset fees for high risk individuals. It will start at $63 for each insured person at the PUD and will decrease over a period of three years.


    The other is a Patient Center Outcomes Research Institute fee that will cost the PUD $1 per insured. It will increase every year until 2019, when it will end.


When she completed her report, Reid complimented her on a recent audit.


“I commend you on our audit this year,” Reid said. “One hundred percent improvement from the previous year. All the gains that have been made, especially as the auditor, that is outstanding.”


Commissioner Gene Healy provided background information on the Columbia River Treaty, and Jungers reported on a kerfuffle between Physicians for Social Responsibilities and Energy Northwest regarding the Columbia Generating Station.


In their last bit of business, the commissioners acknowledged a shift of responsibilities, moving Reid into position as president, Healy as vice president and Jungers as secretary for the new year.