City will boost annual contribution to $20,000PBAC is all well and good as long it is non-political and non-regulatory. The instant it becomes so, then Pullman must pull out.
Pullman City Councilwoman Ann Heath doesn't want the city to get caught up in the "politics of water."
In a meeting Tuesday, Heath said she wants assurance the increased funding needs of the Palouse Basin Aquifer Committee are "nonpolitical in leaning."
Pullman Public Works Director Mark Workman presented the council with a proposal to increase the city's contribution to the multijurisdictional group aimed to provide safe and lasting water to residents on the Palouse.
Pullman, a major user of the aquifer, contributes $8,000 per year, as does the city of Moscow, the University of Idaho and Washington State University. Other entities that pump less water, which include Colfax and Latah and Whitman counties, contribute $2,000 per year.
Workman said major pumpers are being urged to increase their funding to $20,000 per year to maintain a three-quarter-time executive manager position, held by Steve Robischon.
Workman, who also is a PBAC member, said PBAC members and volunteers were spread thin in recent years trying to conduct research and provide administrative support, and there was talk of disbanding. The executive manager position has helped to keep PBAC afloat, but also has drained the committee's reserves, which are now in the red.
"It's the overwhelming consensus of PBAC members that hiring an executive manager has met and exceeded expectations," Workman said. "But we are spending out of reserves right now to pay for the operational expenses of PBAC."
Workman said he shares Heath's sentiment in wanting to be cautious with city money.
"I want to make sure that it's ... in Pullman's best interest," he said.
The council voted to provide the additional funding to PBAC. Workman said other PBAC members are making similar presentations to their agencies. If other agencies opt out of the increased funding proposal, Pullman likely will follow suit, he said, adding that "Pullman is in only in if everyone else is in."
Councilman Keith Bloom said the council's ability to change its mind regarding funding made him more comfortable "that it won't be used to beat us around the head and shoulders."
The council also agreed to maintain the city's $20,0000 contribution for PBAC research. The money will come out of the city's Utility Fund.
Workman said the money will help fund studies to evaluate things such as recharge and alternative water sources.
"While much has been learned, there is much more to be learned," Workman said, adding that the four major pumpers of the water must unanimously agree on a research project before PBAC funds are used.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
"Pullman council will up its ante to PBAC"
Thank God the Pullman City Council, along with the Whitman County Commissoners, see right through the political agenda behind the water hysteria that is currently gripping Moscow. From today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News: