Water systems debate heats up in Coulee Dam
Greg Wilder and Coulee Dam Mayor Quincy Snow had a heated exchange at the town council meeting last Wednesday night.
Wilder appeared to ask why the town hasn’t replied to his letter request of Oct. 10, 2011, for water service to a property he owns on 803 Yucca.
Wilder asked why he couldn’t receive the same service offered to residents on the west side of the river, a request he has been pressing for sometime.
At one point Snow asked Wilder to sit down and got this reply: “You can be smug all you want, I have to put up with you.”
In his letter to the council, Wilder wrote: “I am again requesting water service commensurate with that provided to/for the Town residents on the West side of the river. That is to say, I want a metered service for potable use, and an un-metered service for irrigation and non-potable use.”
The town offers metered potable water and un-metered non-potable water for irrigation and toilet use on the west side.
To offset the un-metered service west siders receive, the town allows 10,000 cubic feet of water to residents before they receive extra charges for water consumption. That’s a total of 74,800 gallons allowed before extra charges acrue.
The west side’s doubled delivery system was turned over to the town when the federal government gave the property over to the municipal government.
Wilder stated that last year 75 residents on the east side paid an overcharge for water usage.
Not so, Councilmember Karl Hjorten stated.
“I went through 5,000 water bills from June 2010 to June 2011, and only found a handfull that overused the water allotment,” Hjorten said.
Hjorten said he had contacted some of those residents with overages, who they said that they didn’t have a problem with paying extra.
Former council member Bonnie Fleming tried to explain that the issue was addressed while she was on the council, and that the majority of those attending a town hall meeting were comfortable with the way it was handled.
She said that the council had to consider the cost of developing a separate non-potable water system for the east side.
Wilder has charged that the town is breaking the law by charging differently for the two areas. He, in his letter, cited RCW 35.92.010, which states, in part: “In classifying customers … the city or town governing body may in its discretion consider any or all of the following factors: The difference in cost of service to the various customers; location of the various customers within and without the city or town …”
Mayor Snow told Wilder that the town would look at his service request for his Yucca property and respond by letter.