Smoky Waters offers to work with PUD for high speed internet
David Blalock and Michael Johnson of Smoky Waters Communications attended Tuesday morning’s Wahkiakum County PUD Board of Commissioners meeting to express interest in working with the PUD to provide high speed internet for the people of Wahkiakum County.
“The gist of it is, you guys provide the infrastructure and we’d handle everything after that,” Blalock said.
“Smoky Waters Communications has been around for a number of months,” Johnson added. “We were looking to do something similar. Our method of choice for delivering from fiber optics was to use wireless radios to provide a super Wi-Fi. We’d done some testing and then learned about your interest to provide high speed internet in the paper. We’d be happy to work with you to pick and choose what kind of delivery system you want. Ultimately our role would be purchasing that signal from you and providing the internet service.”
The board of commissioners signaled that they were open to continuing the conversation.
The PUD voted to accept the new professional services contract with the Wahkiakum Chamber of Commerce. They also declared the old bucket truck as surplus and approved a motion to send it to auction with the Ritchie Brothers Auctioneers.
They also decided to move forward with necessary updates for the Puget Island Water System plan.
“Gray & Osborne has given me a proposal to update that plan to the tune of $16,100,” General Manager Dave Tramblie said, “and I authorized them to go ahead and make up a contract to present. It will actually begin on January 2015 and go for six years.”
Gray & Osborne is a consulting engineering service in Washington state.
“Those updates are required by law,” Commissioner Dennis Reid said, “so I suppose we ought to have a motion to approve that.”
“I recommend that we go with Gray & Osborne,” Tramblie said, “because we have a history and they have done our plans in the past. The consistency we have with them warrants it.”
The board continued to discuss ways to pay down the debt and free up money to pay for improvements to the aging Westend water system. The conversation will continue at the next meeting.
Tramblie reported that the leak along Altoona road had been found and fixed. He also showed the commissioners how a recording device on a meter collected data and allowed them to detect a problem in the Puget Island water system.
“It’s a great tool,” Auditor Erin Wilson said.
Wilson reported that there was currently $397 in the Residential Energy Assistance Program.
“We have pledged $550 in assistance this year to date,” Wilson said.
Commissioner Robert Jungers shared that he had heard several complimentary things recently about the PUD employees.
“We give gratitude to our present manager from changing the PUD from a reactive organization to a proactive organization,” Jungers said, “that is very much dedicated to reliable service.”
Travel was approved for Tramblie to attend an Electricity Metering System Training in Sunriver in April.
The board closed the public meeting for an executive session to discuss contract negotiations.
The next PUD meeting is scheduled for March 4 at 8:30 a.m. in the PUD meeting room.