PUD hears about accident response, grant applications


Last Wednesday during a Wahkiakum County PUD Board of Commissioners meeting, General Manager Dan Kay praised members of his crew who were first responders to a motor vehicle accident that turned into a fire on KM on June 30, a story that was covered in The Eagle on July 6.

“You could tell from the radio calls, the professionalism and training. They’re real humble,” Kay said of Shane Pfenniger, Frankie Mendez, Kevin Vik, Mark Elliott, Scott Cameron, and Doug Condon.

“They just happened to be right there,” Kay continued. “The person in the car, I’m sure, was very thankful. The undersheriff called me later that afternoon and really thanked us for being there and helping with the traffic control because this was Friday, one o’clock, with a long weekend ahead.”

The PUD has been focused on completing applications for several grants, and Auditor Erin Wilson said she was hoping to get back to work on some other documents now that they had their grants submitted.

“It’s an awful lot of work,” Commissioner Dennis Reid said. “Four grant requests at one time, that’s got to be a record for us.”

During the manager’s report, Kay said that the PUD was continuing to add new hook ups for water and electric.

He also gave a little show and tell to the commissioners, passing around pictures and explaining some of the creative ways crews are making repairs and maintaining the system around the county without affecting as many customers as they might have in the past, both in the water and the electric system, with the new tricks that come with new equipment and technology.

There have been a few outages in the last couple weeks, Kay said, with some caused by tree limbs and one caused by a problem in the insulation in an underground cable.

Kay also shared that the PUD will participate in the Bald Eagle Days parade this year, for the the first time in a long time.

“We’re excited about it,” he said.

Wilson said that the PUD would receive roughly $17,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for a November 2022 storm, along with another portion from the state.

She said she attended a recent online meeting with the Department of Commerce, which is tasked with coming up with a plan for low income assistance.

Regular workshops are planned and many in the utility industry have some of the same questions and concerns about the program, she said.

Wilson also said that she, Kay, and Commissioner Gene Healy would meet with a representative from Governor Jay Inslee’s office later that week, a meeting that was initiated by the governor’s office.

Kay speculated that the meeting was to learn more about what issues are facing southwest Washington.

Kay also said that the PUD had reached out to Washington State Representatives Joel McEntire and Jim Walsh, as well as Washington State Senator Jeff Wilson, to talk about state funding. McEntire and Wilson had responded and were willing to have a conversation.

The commissioners approved an adjustment to the manager’s salary, and a resolution will be drawn up for the next meeting. They agreed to raise Kay’s salary to $15,150 per month, effective January, 2023.

“Money well spent,” Commissioner Bob Jungers said.


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