Posted by: Deborah Bryant | February 20, 2008

Clean Water; Your District at Work

We rarely have visitors at the Oceanside Water District board meetings. Board meetings are not tremendously exciting in anyone’s book, but I wanted to share a few things with you that I think are important if you are served by the Oceanside Water District (Oceanside & Cape Meares). Item discussed at last evening’ s meeting:

Tim Williams, currently serving as board chair, has resigned. This leaves a hole in our board that needs to be filled by someone from the Cape Meares community. Our board composition is three members from Oceanside and two from Cape Meares, reflecting the customer base from the two communities. The simple commitment is to attend a monthly evening board meeting, to take time to review materials the week before the meeting to come prepared to discuss, ask questions, and provide guidance. Please talk with Tim or any of the board members if you are a Cape Meares resident and have interest in being considered for appointment to the Oceanside Water District Board of Commissioners.

I also want to share that our long-time employee Nick Shaffer will leave OWD and will move on to a new opportunity at our Sanitary District at the end of this month. Nick was with the OWD for fourteen years and provided much dedicated and knowledgeable service in our small water district. The good news is, our loss is NOSD’s gain. We are fortunate as a community to have him remain in public service in our area. Good luck on the new job Nick, and a big thank you from this commissioner.

If you’re a customer in our district, it’s also important for you to know that the annual budget process is coming up (our fiscal year runs July-July). I have been deeply impressed with how much the district has done with so little. The rates have been held steady for three years. Also shared in this recent meeting; the annual financial audit. No rate increases have also contributed to the district actually loosing money last year. Will we need to raise rates? The board is studying this now.

Commissioner Bob Garrigues recently attended a Special Districts conference on our behalf and returned to the board with some excellent info. I will spend a bit more time on this Friday, but there is a near-term opportunity to apply for grants of up to $20,000 from the state to help us with local water-related issues, and I’d like to put the call out for some help to brainstorm and submit a proposal by March 15 (yes, that’s next month). Bob will be on point from the board and would welcome citizen participation.

National perspective: Clean water and the cost of maintaining, upgrading the infrastructure to deliver it to our citizens as good stewards of public health has become growing national concern. A recent article in USA today discusses the financial realities of aging systems, increased regulatory pressures. Our local good news is, we are blessed with local raw material (rain), but we do face the same kinds of increasing financial pressures to maintain, upgrade, and stay in compliance with a host of regulatory requirements.

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