Port Angeles: Mayor's threat to shut off water dampens dispute between city, PUD


Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES, WA-- Customers who called and e-mailed Clallam County Public Utility District's main office Tuesday support the district in its water dispute with the city, General Manager Dennis Bickford says.

``There's something about front-page news. We are really getting the calls now,'' he said.

Tuesday's Peninsula Daily News front page featured a report on Mayor Richard Headrick's vow Monday to shut off city-provided water to the PUD system east of the city limit unless the utility district signs a wholesale contract that requires some customers to endorse eventual city annexation of the east-side unincorporated area.

``It is time to draw a line in the sand and shut off the water if the district doesn't sign a new contract,'' Headrick told a Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce luncheon meeting Monday.

The two sides have been without a contract since last year.

``All of the calls and e-mails have been very favorable toward the PUD and its stance not to sign the contract with that no-protest annexation agreement clause in it,'' Bickford said Tuesday.

The number of responses to the PUD wasn't given.

The city and Clallam PUD -- which provides water to portions of unincorporated Clallam County outside the city limit -- have been at odds over water service since last month, when the city presented a revised wholesale water supply contract.

No-protest agreement

The contract included the requirement that any Clallam PUD customers upgrading or adding water service must first sign a no-protest annexation agreement.

Headrick said such a requirement is only fair to city taxpayers -- that they get eventual annexation of the sales-tax rich U.S. 101 eastern corridor in exchange for providing wholesale water from its Elwha River source.

Clallam PUD receives up to 675 gallons per minute from the city for its Gales and Fairview water systems east of Port Angeles.

The district can access another 1,000 gallons per minute for those systems, Bickford said.

Clallam PUD has 1,480 water customers in its Gales Addition water system who are directly affected by the water contract with the city, Bickford said.

An additional 1,400 water customers in the Fairview water system would be affected to some degree, he said.

Clallam PUD serves about 3,800 water customers through nine water systems: Fairview, Gales, Mount Angeles, Monroe, Carlsborg, Clallam, Panoramic, Evergreen and Island View.



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