News

PUD board considers land purchase for possible trail extension

by Kimberlee Craig | Feb 03, 2020

A small piece of property could offer big benefits if purchased and added to the site of the PUD’s new Service Center in Olds Station, Chelan PUD commissioners heard Monday.

Dan Frazier, Shared Services director, said the about quarter-acre parcel could be a first step toward a possible loop trail extension and added shoreline access. (At 01:40 on the board meeting recording.) 

“I’m here with some good news,” said Dan Frazier, Shared Services director. Purchase of the small parcel would consolidate the PUD’s ownership of land for potential public access to the Wenatchee River near the confluence with the Columbia, Frazier added.

If the PUD purchase proceeds, the foundation of a small house on the property might be used as a viewpoint, and there is low-bank access to the river, he said. Depending on permitting and collaboration with other landowners, that could allow building of a spur from the Apple Capital Loop Trail to extend shoreline access up the Wenatchee River to the north Wenatchee bridge, Frazier said.

It’s a great opportunity as no new construction is allowed in that riparian zone. And, it could make it easier to get to state fishing access above the high-water mark, now only reachable by boat, he said.

“What a unique opportunity we have,” said board President Garry Arseneault. Added Commissioner Dennis Bolz, “Carry on.”

The sale price is $300,000 and terms call for closing before March 5. Staff will return with a purchase resolution at the Feb. 18 board meeting.  

In other business, commissioners:

  • Held a public hearing on the proposed five-year rate plan. The proposal reflects customer-owner preference heard last year for smaller, predictable electric rate changes to reduce the risk of larger increases in the future.  The 2020-2024 strategic plan recommended putting any increased revenue into reserves to help reduce this risk. One person spoke at today’s hearing. The PUD has received about 45 comments. Most comments either sought clarification or expressed support. Under the proposal, the average home electric bill would increase in small annual steps from about $55 a month now to 63.75 by the end of 2024. Rates would increase 3 percent for other electric and wholesale Fiber customers and 4 percent for water and wastewater customers. Discounts for low income senior and disabled customers also would increase by 3 percent for electric and 4 percent for water and wastewater. PUD staff are reviewing low-income energy efficiency and assistance programs and will report to commissioners before spring. Chelan PUD hasn’t changed electric rates in nine years. Staff will be back with a resolution for possible action on Feb. 18. (02:00)
  • Reviewed the District’s strong 2019 financial performance. All key financial targets were met, and positive bottom line results continue to be used for significant investments in the PUD’s dams and utility systems. Unique factors include an insurance settlement for the large units at Rocky Reach Dam and surplus proceeds from a long-term power contract. Both contributed to a positive bottom line of $114 million, about $37 million better than budget. The District substantially underspent on its budgeted capital projects, deferring some into future years. General Manager Steve Wright said executing the capital program is the highest priority for 2020 consistent with the new strategic plan. (01:02)
  • Were updated on priorities for this year’s legislative session including a Chelan PUD-requested bill to support a research and development program to reduce oil used in hydro turbines. External Affairs Director Tracy Yount said the goal is technology that could significantly reduce the amount of oil in hydro turbines while achieving 40-year design life. Rehabilitation projects at Rocky Reach and Rock Island dams offer timely opportunities to test new technology, Yount said. (01:25)
  • Reviewed progress on the 2019 District Performance Plan. Of the 180 items on the list, about 70 percent were completed on time. Much of work still in progress was rescheduled for 2020 or beyond. (00:20)

     

  • Set special meetings for:
    • 9 a.m., Feb. 6, in the PUD boardroom for the general manager’s annual performance review
    • 8 a.m., March 17, at Confluence Technology Center (CTC), 285 Technology Way, Wenatchee, for a board workshop
    • 1 p.m., April 14, CTC, for a Tri-Commission meeting

Upcoming events:

  • Feb. 10 – PUD customer services in Chelan, Leavenworth and Wenatchee will be closed for staff training
  • Feb 17 – PUD offices closed for Presidents Day holiday
  • Feb. 18 - Commission meeting on Tuesday (due to the holiday), 10 a.m.
  • March 2 – Commission meeting, 10 a.m.

* * *

The next regular PUD commission meeting is at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 18, in the boardroom at 327 N. Wenatchee Ave.

Chelan PUD records most commission meetings, and a link to the audio is available on the PUD’s home page at www.chelanpud.org. Find us at Facebook.com/ChelanPUD and follow us on Twitter @ChelanPUD.

Here for you, providing the best for the most for the longest – chelanpud.org

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