[Letter by Chris Lodahl– North Bend, WA. Views expressed are those of the author, not the Living Snoqualmie website. You may submit letters to the editor or opinion posts to email@example.com]
This week’s water contract/agreement offer from Sallal Water Association — a non-profit, consumer-owned corporation — to the City of North Bend should be accepted by the City Council. Sallal has taken the high road with a win/win approach to water stability for both parties.
What does this agreement provide the City:
- Water and water lines/mains are provided to the City’s Urban Growth Area (UGA) to Truck Town via Sallal. This water can be a mix of City water and Sallal water as needed — as an Intertie will be installed at the end of the City water main to the Sallal water line on North Bend Way.
- The Intertie guarantees water by Sallal and the City with a “wholesale agreement” on both parties with “scheduled accounting,” as meters will be placed by both parties at the Intertie.
- The City (and us ratepayers) will not need to pay the 17 million dollars to install a city water line to the National Guard Site next to Truck Town.
- Developments currently in the review process and future developments to come in the UGA are assured that water is now available with no possibility of court/legal ramifications between the parties continuing for years.
- The State Legislature has guaranteed 2 million dollars or 1 million to each party to pay for the Interties.
- Mitigation water is purchased as provided by Sallal for the fall dry periods — untreated groundwater from Rattlesnake Lake Wellfield to the City through the Boxley Creek Intertie to the river to satisfy requirements by the Department of Ecology. The City is to purchase the mitigation water. It can also replace the mitigation water later in the year with city water, therefore no charge to either party for water supplied and if replenished.
- The City avoids the millions of dollars to pay Sallal shareholders in a commendation takeover/sale, as well as legal costs.
What does the agreement provide Sallal:
- Sallal is able to remain whole and operate as a non-profit entity.
- No commendation takeover by the City and associated costs.
- Guarantee to ratepayers on rates and governance with an Elected Board.
- Using Sallal by “third parties” as a weapon to stop North Bend development in the UGA is ended as the Mitigation issue is resolved per the Department of Ecology guideline. Sallal sells water, not growth.
- The agreement prevents the State Legislature from changing state law to benefit the City for a condemnation take over as the National Guard Site will have water for current use.
- The State Legislature will pay 2 million dollars for the Interties.
- The City will sell Sallal water at wholesale as needed for the City’s Urban Growth Area. The Interties will have meters for both parties for accounting.
- The City will purchase Sallal mitigation water for the river during dry summer/fall times if needed and purchase or replace the water later in the year back to Sallal.
- The City has enough water rights for future water where Sallal may be lacking in the future. This agreement will sustain Sallal, its operations and its customers into the future if need be.
As I said at the beginning, this is a win/win. All of us North Bend ratepayers were saved from a multi-million dollar City condemnation/takeover and probably a huge water rate hike. The Sallal Water Association began as a grassroots effort by local residents in the spring of 1967 and is a non-profit, consumer-owned corporation that is administered by an elected seven-member Board of Trustees with a staff of professional engineers and hydrogeologists.
Sallal is our neighbor – and deserved better treatment than what it received over the years, in my opinion. Please thank the Sallal Board for their efforts to go above and beyond. Submit your thoughts — below are Web Links/Email Addresses to the Sallal Agreement Proposal, Sallal Board, North Bend Mayor and Council.
Chris Lodahl, NB Mayor 92-95 and Councilmember 90-91
Sallal Board Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
North Bend City Council Email: email@example.com
North Bend City Mayor Email: firstname.lastname@example.org