The city of White Salmon will be able to issue new water hook-ups starting next Tuesday, Aug. 2.
That's because City Councilors Adrian Bradford, Clyde Knowles, Bob Landgren and Mark Peppel approved an ordinance lifting the city's moratorium on water hook-ups. The ordinance becomes effective five days after its July 28 publication.
City administrators last week received a verbal OK from the state Department of Health official reviewing the city's water master plan update to start releasing, as an interim step, some 800 water meters. (That number will increase once the city rewrites and adopts its 20-year comprehensive plan for guiding the city's growth and use of resources.)
Council members, before adopting the ordinance lifting the moratorium on water connections, encouraged Mayor David Poucher and City Administrator/Public Works Director Pat Munyan to go slowly with the issuance of new meters.
The mayor and Munyan agreed with this approach. "We'll start slowly and sell 10 to 20 hook-ups, and hold the rest back until we can address these other issues," Munyan said.
Those other issues include the appropriateness of current water hook-up charges and water rates, and the creation of a water rights acquisition fund that would provide the framework for pursuing and securing additional water rights. The council tabled proposed ordinances dealing with rates and setting up the acquisition fund, and remanded them to the City Operations Committee for review. (The Operations Committee is supposed to report back to council on Aug. 3 with recommendations.)
Said Munyan, "The water hook-up charges and water rates need to be evaluated so we can be sure we can accomplish our 20-year planning goals" for the community.
Currently, for a basic three-quarter-inch residential hook-up, the city charges $5286.86 for an in-town service and $7,464.36 for an out-of-town service.