Sunnyside postpones joint water project with East Carbon
East Carbon officials voted to amend their interlocal agreement with Sunnyside Tuesday night, providing essential financial backing to the area's ambulance service.
While the agreement brings the sister cities even closer together, a recent lack of communication has postponed a water project aimed at providing a significant amount of useable water to the area's citizens.
"I'm so tired of this," said East Carbon Mayor Orlando LaFontaine via telephone. "We just received word that Sunnyside has bailed out on our water project."
According to the mayor, Sunnyside officials emailed the state's Permanent Community Impact Board this last week to let them know they hadn't been contacted by East Carbon and would not be moving forward with a joint funding application in September.
"The whole situation makes me furious," exclaimed LaFontaine. "Why did I have to go up there in person? We sent our engineering firm up there to give a full presentation. And now we see this email, I don't understand why they would stand in the way of a project this vital."
The project LaFontaine speaks of has been discussed specifically in one form or another through much of 2012. Due to a large amount of seepage in Whitmore Canyon, which is made worse by underground mining works, much of the water released from Grassy Trail Reservoir never makes it into the community. To counteract this, East Carbon Officials, with the help of Johansen and Tuttle's Darrel Leemaster, propose to develop a new diversion which could net the city a reported 300,000 extra gallons of water per day.
"With the possibility of drought I don't see how anyone could have a problem with this project," continued LaFontaine.
While Sunnyside Mayor Doug Parsons did not dispute the fact that Sunnyside had indeed contacted the CIB, his version of the circumstances differs from LaFontaine's.
"No one from East Carbon ever contacted us about this project," explained Parsons. "The council members in this town took issue with the fact that Sunnyside's name had been attached to a grant application for a project they knew nothing about."
According to Parsons, any contact from either the East Carbon mayor or council would have made all the difference.
"Leemaster did speak to us and we asked him to have East Carbon officials contact us about the project," he explained. "Neither the mayor nor council ever came forward."
Due to the lack of contact, Sunnyside never held a public hearing concerning the application and therefore did not feel comfortable moving forward, said Parsons.
As the CIB Board meets on the first Thursday of the month, any realistic presentation of the project will now be pushed back to November.
"Our issue isn't with the project," continued Parsons. "Additional water would be a good thing for both cities, but if our name is going to be on a joint application for funding we need to be approached by East Carbon concerning the details."
According to Parsons, both he and LaFontaine had spoken and the project would be moving forward, hoping to be in front of the community impact board come November.