Skamokawa water main work starts next week
September 10, 2020
The Wahkiakum County PUD Board of Directors met Tuesday morning to listen to reports and approve a grant application, a preliminary budget, and a new reserve fund level.
The PUD water crew repaired a water leak at the base of Puget Island bridge, General Manager Dave Tramblie said, and the Skamokawa Water Consolidation Project contractors will begin work on September 14. They have 60 days to complete the work.
“I’m sure people will be glad to see that finally getting started,” Commissioner Dennis Reid said. “People have been wondering if it was ever going to go.”
“The project got delayed by covid-19 and the application and permitting processes,” Tramblie replied. “We would have liked to have been done by now.”
The PUD had been getting an influx of new requests for electric and water service this summer, Tramblie said, and that crews were now spending a quarter of the amount of time it used to take to read meters thanks to the new automated meter reading meters.
“It’s saving wear and tear on our vehicles,” he said, “which will produce savings in fuel, and extend the life of the vehicle.”
An application for a Public Works Board broadband grant would be submitted on Wednesday, he also noted, thanking Claire Ward from Noanet, who had gone through it “with a fine tooth comb.”
“She did an awesome job,” Tramblie said. “I don’t know that we could have gotten a better application in.”
Auditor Erin Wilson said there were no rate increases built into the preliminary budget for 2021, and that she had been working with FEMA regarding the storms in January and February, hoping that the PUD would see some reimbursement for that. She too had been working on the broadband grant application.
The PUD’s Broadband Consultant Steve Carson echoed Tramblie and Wilson, sharing that pending a couple last minute letters, the application for a Public Works Board broadband grant would be submitted on Wednesday, and that he and Ward would be completing the final steps for another grant application next week.
“Time will tell,” Carson said.
The commissioners approved the application for the Public Works grant, and Commissioner Gene Healy thanked everyone who worked on the project. They also approved a preliminary budget for 2021 with expected revenue to total $5,093,160 plus a transfer from reserves of $290,940 for total cash flows of $5,384,100.
“I noticed the most significant change from last year is that total capital investments is up about 45 percent, but it is somewhat reflected in an anticipated increased revenue,” Commissioner Bob Jungers said.
Finally, the commissioners adopted a resolution that sets the minimum reserve funds for the PUD at $700,000. The previous minimum reserve level had been $520,000.
“It’s well above and gives us some good wiggle room,” Wilson said when asked if the PUD could meet that standard. "Those reserve levels were set in 1997, and probably needed to be updated anyway.”