The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

PUD commission covers strategic issues


February 7, 2019

There was a lot to talk about at the Wahkiakum County PUD Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday morning.

Commissioner Dennis Reid brought up two issues during open discussion.

He suggested that they do away with the resolutions regarding salary range and salary caps for the general manager.

“The manager’s salary is up to the commissioners,” Reid said.” If you are going to set a salary cap, you should stick to it. It irks me that every couple years we say we want to give the manager a raise, so we move the cap. Why do you have a cap? Personally I won’t vote for moving that cap up again. It’s nothing against the manager, I just don’t think it’s the right way to do it.”

His second concern was the Western Wahkiakum Water System.

“The people down in Deep River have been asking us for over a decade to get them water,” Reid said. “In 2018, we got a good start on that, putting some water line in. I would like to see us make a pledge to add to that every year, even if it’s 100 feet of line. I know we’re strapped for money, but if we do just a little bit each year, it would show those people that we are trying to get that done.”

It got Commissioner Bob Jungers thinking about the PUD’s potential plans to add another system: the “fiberoptic backbone,” as well as an earlier discussion, the notion of consolidating the PUD’s systems into one financial entity, which could allow the PUD to allocate reserves to “general endeavors that are a benefit to the community.”

“I see several opportunities for it to be a cash positive asset to the district,” Jungers said of broadband. “I don’t see why those funds can’t be spent to improve an infrastructure that serves the rest of the district.”

Nothing was decided.

General Manager Dave Tramblie gave an update on the broadband project, noting that they had received a signed agreement for offer of financial aid from the Washington State Department of Commerce’s Community Economic Revitalization Board. The next step, Tramblie said, was a pre-contract document that included a scope of work, evidence that consultant services had been selected and a match had been secured to be submitted by May 16.

The commissioners approved a motion to allow Tramblie and Counsel Tim Hanigan to “negotiate an interlocal agreement with NoaNet for the purpose of developing a broadband strategic plan,” thus moving forward with one stipulation of the pre-contract document.

Tramblie also reported that the PUD had received a Washington Department of Health grant to consolidate water systems in Skamokawa. There is no match required for the grant, Tramblie said, and the amount received is similar to the engineer’s estimate to complete the project.

Finally, Tramblie noted that tree trimming had been completed in Skamokawa and that they would soon begin working in the Cathlamet area.


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