Waterville Town Council | Water rates to be revisited

Administrators at Waterville’s school and cemetery as well as some Waterville town staff are not happy with the new water rate system. They are not the only ones. Some residents also feel the rates are so high that it is not feasible to water their lawns.

A group of these people attended the June 17 regular town council meeting and aired their concerns.

Mayor Royal DeVaney encouraged the council to reconsider the new rates with representatives from the concerned parties, especially those from the school and the cemetery district.

A special irrigation line was installed in 2017 so that the school and cemetery could irrigate with water from Well No. 2, which has too high a nitrate level to be used in the town’s potable water system. Representatives from the school and cemetery felt that it was unfair that they were being charged the same rate for the water as is charged for potable water.

Town utility superintendent Marty Ramin said that the town is saving 12 million gallons of potable water per year by the use of Well No. 2 by the school and the cemetery, and the use of Well No. 1 by the NCW Fairgrounds. The hookup with the non-potable Well No. 1 was just installed this spring. He said that because of these measures, the town no longer has a potable water shortage and is not in need of such drastic increases in water rates.

For large water users, rates under the new system have increased by about 300 percent, which reflects higher charges for large volumes of use. The system was designed so that those who use only the baseline amount of water, which is 500 cubic feet per month, will not see large increases.

It was agreed that a group will meet with the town council and discuss modifications to the current rate structure.

In other matters, the council adopted the 2020-2025 six-year street plan following a public hearing. Priority streets are Chelan Avenue from Poplar Street to Third Street (2021), Harrison Street from Birch Street to Beech Street (2022), Rainier Street from Willow Street to Elm Street (2023), Adams Street from Poplar Street to Third Street (2024), Third Street from Chelan Avenue to Columbia Avenue (2024) and Third Street from Columbia Avenue to Jackson Street (2025).

Chelan-Douglas Health District Board representative Jill Thompson reported that the board discussed the problem of homeless camps by the Columbia River at its most recent meeting.

The health district will be holding a Public Health Fair June 29 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the LocalTel Event Room at Pybus Market. It will be a chance for the public to learn about food safety, immunizations, birth and death certificates, safe waste disposal and more.

The Planning and Zoning Committee, along with planner Kurt Danison, held a meeting with DeVaney and the council on June 10 to update them on proposed changes to the town’s comprehensive plan. The plan with its proposed changes is now being sent to the State Department of Commerce for review. It will be sent to the town council within 60 days for final approval.

Ramin said that he would be applying pesticide with the town’s fogging trailer sometime before June 23. The application is done between 9:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. on a day when wind conditions are optimal. He said that since the mosquitoes came out early this year it is possible that he will need to make some spot applications a second time later in the summer.

DeVaney said that there was a good crowd at the swimming pool on opening day. This summer’s lifeguard staff includes water aerobics instructor Bertys Besel, assistant managers Brooke and Evan Simmons and first-year lifeguards John Flitton, Josie Flitton, Hailey Moreno and Mateus Mullen.

Waterville Days will be held July 12-13. For details and entry forms, go to historicwatervillewa.org.

The next council meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. July 1.