(Currently being served by Grays Harbor PUD) I understood from articles and letters in the local papers that this seemed to be divisive issue involving millions of utility dollars and I wanted to fully understand the issue. I assumed this meeting would clarify many points.
I was greeted by Steve Rogers, County Commissioner, and was appreciative that there would be a monitor of this meeting, assuring that it would be orderly and progressive. It soon became clear that many audience members had done significant homework on many issues that were contrary to the Commissioner’s idea of bringing Pacific County PUD power into the proposed areas. I didn’t feel that the audience was against the upgrading of the power grid itself, in fact many were quite concerned on how poorly the lines, etc, were in Tokeland area. They were more concerned that the PUD Commissioners were not forthcoming with a complete and comprehensive plan that revealed all the necessary data, i.e. permits, cost analysis vs. income projections, benefits vs. liabilities to rate payers, etc.
In fact, two of the board members projected the image that this project was no different than any other project that they have gone and they weren’t questioned on those. However, when power must be run under several miles of bay water and lines must be put under ground, I believe this is different and requires the input of several different state and possible federal agencies. Proof that this input and permits had been acquired was not presented. In fact, no substantial reference material had been assembled to show how the PUD had made progress on this multi-million dollar project.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe that all residence of Pacific County, especially those hampered by winter storms should have the same access to reliable utilities as those of us that live within a convenient location to services. What I don’t understand is a group of elected officials who are so off the grid that they are no responsive to the educated, well-thought out concerns of their constituents. A PUD Commissioner is an elected position. They are our neighbors, friends and service at our choice. But they are responsible for the distributions of public derived budgetary amounts that are not insignificant. It is our money they handle. It is the Public Utility District.
I believe we need better information before these dollars are spent and they need to ask themselves, “Have I done everything I can to serve the PEOPLE of this District?”