PUD passes more bonds; Swanson opposed

By SCOT W. PEARSON


By SCOT PEARSON

At the March 4th Pacific County Public Utility District Commissioners meeting, among the service extensions for port customers, the group heard a presentation that outlines the current $15 million bond proposal that will finance PUD projects through 2017.

After the presentation the board voted 2-1 in favor of Resolution No. 1348. The resolution authorizes the issuance and sale of Electric System Revenue Bonds 2014, to finance a plan or system of additions and betterments to the electric system; fixing the form and covenants of the bonds; and delegating authority to the General Manager or his designee to approve the final terms of the bonds.

The current major capitol construction project list outlines a Tokeland substation, an 11-mile Tokeland transmission line, along State Route 105, and distribution in the Tokeland vicinity.

Also listed in the 2014 project year is a Tralett substation power transformer, Ocean Park substation 9,000-foot underground southern feeder, State Route 105 feeder rebuild, 11,000 feet underground, and an underground 26,000-foot cable replacement along Mill Creek Road.

2015 brings additional work in Tokeland, as well as payment to Grays Harbor Public Utility District for Tokeland and Grayland facilities, which is still an undetermined or negotiated cost. Additional work at Tarlett, Long Beach and Ward Creek road cable replacement. In 2016, the work goes over head with rebuilds along Willapa Road and Duryea Street, of just over a combined 9,000 feet. The bond will also cover rebuilds in Lebam in 2017.

Commissioner Swanson, the only aye vote opposed to Resolution 1348, after a short discussion, said that he has always thought the expansion into the Tokeland area was not needed.

I have always voted against the expansion into Tokeland,” Swanson said. “They already have power and I do not see a need for this PUD to replace that service. I also voted against this year’s budget due to the fact that it had items in it that was associated to the project.”

The 20-year bond scheduled out to year 2033, is estimated to provide $15,545,000 to the PUD, which over time will cost just over $22 million with interest. Actual numbers will not be known until the PUD takes the final steps and acquires the bond.

The commissioners had a quick slightly heated interruption as members of the public wished to comment on Resolution 1348 prior to the vote, but was shut down by the chairman who advised that any comments would be taken after the vote. The public was raising concern about any required permitting and actual cost of projects outlined that were supported by the resolution.

When allowed to speak in the public comment time of the agenda, after the voting in of the resolution, resident Dick Anderson was recognized and voiced his opinion of how the commissioners appeared rude for not allowing a ratepayer to have a voice on the issues at hand, the resolution, when it concerns all ratepayers. Anderson further related that attending other PUD meetings in different counties, the public has not one, but two opportunities to speak during the meetings.

Resident Steve Sheary reiterated his concerns about the Tokeland Project with focus on how the commissioners appear to be pushing for money that possibly the ratepayers can not afford, and additionally he questioned upcoming union raises and wished that information was easier to obtain from the PUD.