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Front Page » December 13, 2005 » Local News » PRWID Panel Reviews Draft Of Bill Resolution
Published 3,180 days ago

PRWID Panel Reviews Draft Of Bill Resolution


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By TOM McCOURT
Sun Advocate reporter

The Price River Water Improvement District board met Tuesday and reviewed a second draft of a bill resolution document for Helper city.

Helper owes the improvement district $18,738 for emergency water purchased by the city during summer 2005.

For a few months, the city and PRWID have been working on an agreement to satisfy the debt. It has been agreed in principle that Helper will temporarily transfer 200 water shares to PRWID.

The district, in turn, will lease the same number of shares out for an estimated nine to 10 years to resolve the debt.

After discussing the matter at the Dec. 6 meeting, the PRWID board approved the document as presented.

It now must be approved by the Helper city council before the agreement is formally signed.

The board agreed to submit the document to the Helper city attorney who will review it and then present it to city officials for approval.

It is expected that a final agreement can be signed at the next PRWID board meeting on Dec. 27.

The board then reviewed a draft of an updated Helper city water service agreement with PRWID. Helper is not a regular water improvement district customer.

The city maintains it's own water system and buys water from PRWID only on emergency and as-needed basis.

PRWID board members approved the updated service agreement in principle following a discussion about wording and the need to be more specific about rates charged for water used.

The water improvement district board agreed to set a wholesale water rate to Helper city at $2.90 per thousand gallons with stipulations specified for overages, special situations, etc.

A letter explaining how the $2.90 charge was formulated will be attached to the document.

The service agreement is also contingent upon approval by the Helper City Council and the item was placed back on the agenda for the next meeting.

Introducing an unrelated matter, PRWID general manager Phil Palmer gave the board an overview of the progress of the ongoing winter water project with Price Canal Company.

The purpose of the project is to provide water to livestock during the winter months when the canal is empty.

Palmer reported that he had met with representatives of the canal company who were anxious for a completion of the project as the canal is now empty and stock watering ponds are frozen and nearly empty.

Palmer reported that most of the system is complete and pressure testing as well as bacteriological and chlorine residual tests have been completed. Even though the canal company had originally wanted the whole project completed before it was turned on, he recommended that the board consider turning on parts of the system immediately.

There followed a discussion about the possible liability issues of accepting and operating a system that is not fully completed, but after consulting with attorney Nick Sampinos, the members passed a resolution to turn on working parts of the system as soon as possible. A list of those areas under service will be made available to the board.

The discussion then turned to summer usage of the winter water project. Palmer told the board that summer usage is still an issue that needs to be worked out. The project was originally intended for winter use only. Several issues must be addressed regarding water rights and points of distribution if people are going to use the system through the summer months. Palmer agreed to meet with representatives of the carbon canal company to discuss the issues. Board chairman Keith Cox and board member Tom Mathews will also serve as a committee to work on a final agreement.

The next item discussed was a franchise agreement between PRWID and Emery County. Sampinos presented a draft of an agreement drawn up by Emery county. He explained that PRWID had approached Emery county about expanding the water district boundaries into northern Emery county, and while the Emery county commissioners have approved the expansion, they want guarantees that any development in the area will be subject to Emery county codes and oversight. They are also asking for guarantees that any damage done to roads will be repaired by the water district and not at the expense of Emery county. After some discussion, the board approved the franchise agreement unanimously.

The focus of the meeting then turned to a second draft of a subdivision approval letter requested by carbon county and drafted by PRWID personnel. The purpose and content of the letter had been discussed at other meetings and the draft presented to the board was put forward for final review.

Jeff Richens, who presented the letter, suggested that a time limit be included that would give developers a deadline. He suggested that a date be specified for the subdivision to be completed at which time the PRWID letter of approval would expire. A developer extending work beyond a reasonable time would then be required to re-apply for approval. After a lengthy discussion, it was agreed that language would be added to the letter giving a developer two years to complete the approved project.

In a related matter, Richens told the board about an ordinance which sets new standards for fire flow volume and pressure in new subdivisions. He explained that in the past, PRWID has had a standard of 40 psi water pressure in new subdivisions but the county has adopted the state standard which is 20psi with a flow rate of 500 gallons per minute.

Palmer suggested that the board adopt the new standard. He pointed out that the new standard is a minimum requirement and the district can still require a higher standard if they feel circumstances warrant it. A resolution was passed adopting the new standard.

The next item on the agenda was a review of the fifth draft of a water service agreement between PRWID and Wellington City. The agreement has been debated in the committee stage for months.

A point of contention has been in interpreting the original 1978 service agreement between PRWID and Wellington City. Each party has a different idea of what was originally intended. Unfortunately, the language and intent is not clear and people who were signatories of that original agreement disagree on what was intended. Palmer told the board that the most recent draft of the new service agreement would withdraw any PRWID claim to pre-1971 water shares owned by Wellington city. It would also eliminate all previous lease agreements between the two parties.

There followed a lengthy discussion of Wellington City water shares, points of diversion to the Wellington system, and interpretations of the original service agreement.

Sampinos told the board that under the new agreement, the water district will be required to notify Wellington of the number of shares required and how many other shares might be called out. Wellington would then notify the state engineer to release the water shares to PRWID. He also said that in times of extreme need, Wellington agrees to cut back on their secondary water system and dedicate those shares to PRWID if needed.

Councilman Tom Mathews asked if any unused Wellington water shares could be leased back to Wellington city. Wellington city Attorney George Harmon, who was at the meeting, said that Wellington pledges water to PRWID and then buys it back. He said that PRWID could not make the city pay for unused water shares because Wellington already owns them.

Mathews then asked if the district could require Wellington to surrender a water share for each new hookup installed in the city. Councilman Karl Housekeeper said that such a move would surely kill the agreement as Wellington City would never sign such a deal. Harmon said that under such a condition, Wellington might seek legal options and require PRWID to show beneficial use for each water share surrendered.

Attorney Sampinos said that the new draft agreement cleared up many old misunderstandings, and he recommended that the board adopt it with a few modifications to language only. He agreed to meet with the state water engineer to finalize the final wording. Housekeeper then agreed to present the document to the Wellington city council as amended. A motion was made and seconded to accept the draft agreement with the slight modifications proposed. The motion carried.

The meeting then turned to a discussion of road repair work in Carbonville and a need to reimburse KK&J Construction for an overcharge on a water meter installation. The council agreed to reimburse the construction company $550.

The focus then went to budget matters. The board approved a $50 Christmas bonus for PRWID employees as well as a small safety incentive bonus. Richens then presented an update of the proposed 2006 budget.

Richens told the group that the proposed budget had been slashed by another $220,000 in just the past week, cutting it to the bare bones. He also pointed out that the new budget was balanced with expected revenues for the coming year. He said that the focus of the second round of budget cuts had been cutting purchases without sacrificing employee health and safety. He then discussed a few items the district felt were non-negotiable. Employee wages and benefits were among them.

The board had previously approved a 4.5 percent pay increase for district employees, and Richens told the group that the pay raise was factored into the new budget proposal. The board then spent some time discussing how best to distribute the pay increase among the employees.

Richens will present a final draft of the 2006 budget at the next PRWID public meeting on December 27.

The board then went into executive session to discuss some personnel matters.



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