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School District Asks For Special Water Fee

From City of White Salmon

By SVERRE BAKKE

The Enterprise

The White Salmon Valley School District has requested the granting of a special class water user fee from White Salmon City Council in accordance with the city's Municipal Code.

In a letter to City Administrator Patrick Munyan Jr. dated Aug. 12, Dr. Jerry Lewis, superintendent, noted, "The School District, as well as other public entities, is looking at reducing expenditures and appreciates your cooperation and understanding of the circumstances that we and other public entities are experiencing."

Specifically, the School District is asking the City Council to approve a special class user fee that would waive irrigation meter charges during the winter season. Lewis said the district has not utilized the meters during the past several winters.

"As a school district relying on taxes, such as the city, for operations we are requesting that the City Council consider no base fee charges during these down months," Lewis wrote.

The City Council on Oct. 5 authorized Mayor David Poucher and Munyan to enter into negotiations with the School District on a special class user fee for the winter that would lower the district's water use rate. The agreement would take the form of a contract between the School District and the City Council.

Lewis expressed an interest in completing negotiations before the end of the fall irrigation season "to eliminate the winter months' expenditures."

Under White Salmon Municipal Code 13.16.035, water rates, special classes of users, Part A, the City Council may grant special user fee requests for special classes of users, including "but not limited to hospital districts, school districts and public buildings...as agreed upon between the council and each of such users."

Munyan said the council amended the city's water ordinance in February of this year primarily to help the City Swimming Pool save money on water costs.

"When we did that, we opened ourselves up to have to negotiate water fees with other public entities," he noted, "but to me, it's the right thing to do."

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