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Shoreline Water District Board Officially Opposing SPU Water System Acquisition by City

Shoreline Water District Board believes a locally-controlled, independent special purpose district is best method to provide utility services rather than city run utility

The Shoreline Water District Board met Monday night, and after much discussion, decided by a 3-0 vote to oppose the city of Shoreline's Proposition 1, which asks voters to support the city's attempt to buy and run Seattle Public Utilities water system west of I-5.

Water District President Ron Ricker, vice president Larry Schoonmaker and secretary Charlotte Haines voted to oppose in part because approval of Proposition 1 might "facilitate a future assumption of the district after the expiration of the city-district franchise agreement in 2027," according Shoreline Water District Resolution 2012.09.62 (see attached PDF).

Other reasons given for opposition in the resolution include the following:

•The Board's belief that the ambiguity in the language or the city's Ordinance 644 and Proposition 1 could allow the city to argue that it can "assume the district without an additional vote by the citizens of the city and with no vote by the citizens of Lake Forest Park.

•The voters approval of Proposition 1 and the city's acquistion of the SPU water system makes it unlikely the SPU water sytem would be included in a merged and combined independent utility district in North King County.

•The city is currently using staff and funds from its General Fund to investigate its purchase of the SPU system. Thus, all citizens of the city, including those residing within the district and not served by SPU, have been paying for the city's evaluation. Further, if Proposition 1 passes, staff and funds from the General Fun(d)(sic) will continue to be used for many years until the possible purchase is successfully concluded.

What the Shoreline Water District Board believes, as stated in its resolution is "a locally-controlled, independent special purpose district is the best method of providing cost-effective and efficient utility services to the community. The Board of Commissioners urges the voters of the city to consider this as an alternative for owning, managing and operating the SPU system in the future."

For the city's take on the acquistion go the SPU section of its Web site.

Karen Easterly-Behrens September 19, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Excellent summary of a thoughtful discussion and decision made by a Public Utility that keeps their customer's welfare at the center of their concerns. Thank You.
Margaret Wiggins September 27, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Shoreline city and district may have decided how the customers/citizens will pay for their services, but the discussion for the state is not over. Threats of "assumption" are ongoing, sort of a blackmail threat if a district doesn't do what city staff wants. Shoreline is lucky to have a water district that gets audited regularly by the state and their rates are restricted to delivering that service. The city is looking for more money, and the new franchise agreement lets the city charge 6% tax so they get their money for general purposes to make up for losses in sales tax and property tax. Other cities and districts have yet to settle their dispute. Allowing a vote of the affected folks, district and citizens, to decide who can offer the services best, is something your state legislator needs to hear. Ms Chase knows, but Rep Kagi doesn't always vote for the people in her district, instead voting for the party.

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