PUD board considering system consolidation
April 23, 2020
The Wahkiakum PUD Board of Commissioners gathered in their meeting room and remotely on Tuesday to listen to reports, approve a broadband feasibility study, and talk about wifi hot spots.
They also had a brief discussion about consolidating their electric and water systems.
“I’m assuming we want to move forward with consolidation of our business because it gives us the most flexibility to provide our customers with the services they need,” General Manager Dave Tramblie said. “That is the emphasis from what I’ve heard from the board.”
The PUD will hold a public hearing at the next meeting on May 5 to hear concerns from the general public.
Tramblie said that their engineer was recommending that the PUD send out bid solicitations for the Skamokawa Water System on May 5.
“The bidding climate is good right now,” Tramblie said. “It’s been deemed an essential project through the state and being funded by state money. I would recommend that we move forward.”
Commissioners gave the okay.
All PUD employees were back at work on Monday, Tramblie said, and following directives set by elective officials--maintaining six feet distance, and allowing one person per vehicle.
“Yesterday went quite well,” Tramblie said. “I think we’re going to be able to keep everybody here and get things done.”
Tramblie also said that the PUD was following the governor’s directives regarding the disconnection of services. Customers are still obligated to pay their utility bills, but there are no disconnections at this time.
Commissioner Dennis Reid, who had concerns that there might not be adequate access to the internet for local students and some of the public during the current health crisis, said he had been asking around the community about wi-fi hot spots, which led to a larger discussion about hot spots in Skamokawa as well.
There are several locations, including the Cathlamet Library, the Elochoman Slough Marina, and Vista Park, which is currently closed, but many of them require passwords.
In other news, the commissioners approved the broadband feasibility study, which was recently completed by Noanet, and travel for Auditor Erin Wilson to a Washington Finance Officers conference in September.