PUD working on Westend substation, Skamokawa water projects
July 18, 2019
On Tuesday, the Wahkiakum County PUD Board of Commissioners listened to reports and discussed a newly drafted financial policy.
“The contractor for the Grays River substation asked to start today,” General Manager Dave Tramblie said.
The contractor, Power Technology, Inc., was supposed to begin the project to upgrade the substation next Monday, but following a recent pre-construction meeting at the engineering offices of Brown and Kysar, they asked to start early.
In preparation for the substation project, Tramblie said that the PUD had reconfigured their system and the Westend was being served by the intertie with Pacific County as of Monday.
Tramblie turned his attention to the Skamokawa Water System expansion project, which is being funded by a grant from the Department of Health.
“The state has given us a grant to extend the Skamokawa Water System through Sleepy Hollow and a couple other areas because those people are all using springs now and springs have been on a boil order for years and they want to get people off of it,” Commissioner Dennis Reid explained.
Tramblie was hesitant to sign a document he had recently received from the Department of Health due to some muddy verbiage.
“At the end of this project, Sleepy Hollow water system will be served by Skamokawa Water System and owned, operated, and maintained by Wahkiakum PUD,” Tramblie read.
“What’s the issue?” Commissioner Bob Jungers asked.
“That language indicates to me that we will own the existing water system that they are being served with at this time,” Tramblie said, referring to the Sleepy Hollow water system. “It’s in conflict with what I think we should be doing, which is serving those customers, not owning and operating their water system.”
Jungers wondered if the DOH might be asking the PUD to condemn that system.
“They haven’t come out and made that kind of reference, but I’m afraid at the end of the project they could say that is what you agreed to,” Tramblie said. “I don’t want to be caught on the hook for that. And if we don’t and they take the money back, that’s a bad scenario too.”
After more discussion, Tramblie agreed to seek clarification before moving forward.
The next phase of the broadband feasibility study will get underway next week when representatives from Noanet are expected to return to the area for two or three days to do the design work.
According to Auditor Erin Wilson, PUD customers will be able to pay their bills electronically beginning this week. The PUD has also been researching ways to keep customers informed during outages.
For now, they may continue to keep the dispatcher at the sheriff’s office informed, and perhaps set up a recording if they are being inundated with calls, Tramblie said.
Finally, the commissioners took a look at a draft of a financial policy requested by the state auditor and written by Wilson. It addresses revenue, banking and deposits, investments, cash reserves, expenditures/procurement/cash disbursements, cost allocation, debt, internal controls, financial statements and audits at the PUD. They are expected to vote on the final draft at the next meeting.