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

After outage, PUD may underground old line along Ingalls Road


December 17, 2020

By Diana Zimmerman

The Wahkiakum PUD Board of Commissioners learned more about an opportunity to join a project to bring community wifi to Cathlamet, heard reports, and reorganized the board for the next year.

General Manager Dave Tramblie said that a tree took down three strands of wire on Ingalls Road, after Commissioner Dennis Reid asked about a power outage in the Skamokawa area on Saturday.

It was very old wire and the guys had a tough time, Tramblie said, adding that the PUD is planning to look into moving the section underground.

He also said that the PUD planned to close early on Christmas Eve, which falls on a Thursday this year.

Auditor Erin Wilson made a correction for the last meeting. She said that total write offs for 2020 totaled $2845.26, but they were actually a little less, at $2374.06.

Reid reported that during the special meeting with Washington State Legislative District 19 leaders last week, Wahkiakum County Commissioner Gene Strong mentioned that he was working on getting some funds from the second round of CARES Act to help PUD rate payers that are behind on their payments because of the pandemic.

“Fifteen other utilities received substantial funding in the first round,” Reid said. “I don’t know why we didn’t get any in the first round, but they are working on getting us some in the second round.”

Steve Carson of Skamokawa Internet Service, who is a partner in a recent project involving the Town of Cathlamet, the Wahkiakum Chamber of Commerce, Wahkiakum County, and Port 1 to bring community wifi to downtown Cathlamet and the marina, encouraged the PUD to consider joining, and extend the scope of the project to River Street.

“It’s not just good for the local community but also for guests that come to our area,” Carson said. “I think having a fiber backed public wifi network will provide a network that will exceed many local options for our businesses and the homes in our area and will stand as a great example of the type of broadband that the PUD hopes to be able to provide for its customers in the future while also allowing users to get important information about our area and access local services like the PUD website and other information that is available to our community.”

The commissioners had several questions about the cost and their role, and after some discussion, decided they wanted a little more time to go over details, and consider the matter before making a decision. The issue will be added to the agenda of the next meeting.

“Thanks for considering this,” Town Councilman David Olson said. “The inspiration for this arose from your efforts. It’s a secondary project that helps everybody. It is an ancillary project toward the common goal that everyone has of getting everyone connected in this century.”

The board reorganized for 2022, with Commissioner Gene Healy as President, Commissioner Bob Jungers as Vice President, and Reid as Secretary.

The board also adopted a resolution changing some of the language in the Financial Management Policy for the district, which reflects their change from three systems to one system, financially.

Finally, they approved a 2 percent cost of living allowance increase for the general manager, proposed by Reid.


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