If you were a bit late in arriving to the Shady Cove Water District Special Meeting/Public Hearing on Wednesday, Sept. 9 – you likely missed the entire event.
The purpose of the meeting was to allow folks to provide testimony and/or documentation for any monetary claims they have against the district. This is all part of the fact finding for the petition to dissolve the district.
The meeting began with President Keith advising there would be a work session Saturday 9/12 at the library to sort through all the documentation provided by the previous board. He noted the more volunteers the better to get the work done in a timely manner.
It was then quickly on to the task at hand. Keith read aloud the rules for the hearing then opened the floor to those with claims. Though there was a significant crowd present, only five claims were presented. Will Hardy and Art Sterling each made claims for $72, but both plan on returning the monies to the district as donations. Wayne Barnes, Ruth Miller & Bud Rees also made claims.
$72 was the most popular amount. When the $6 fee went into effect folks were given the option to pay $72 and receive $100 credit toward water if/when it was distributed.
In an interview after the meeting, former Manager Jim Collier advised he too had submitted claims – prior to the start of the meeting. With tensions still high between old and new boards he felt it was in everyone’s best interest if he did not stay for the meeting itself. He advised the paperwork he submitted on Sept. 9 is also duplicated in the boxed up papers the board will go through on Sept. 12. His claim was for folks who had made loans to the district (himself included) and on behalf of all those who paid the $72 fee (41 in all). Some of those who paid the fee live out of town or even out of state and were unable to attend the hearing to submit their own claims.
Once all five claims were made the hearing portion of the meeting was closed. An audience member asked if questions could be asked. Keith advised “no” as, a) the hearing portion was closed and, b) the hearing was to deal only with claims.
Keith reminded folks that no decisions would be made that evening, and that there would be a second meeting on Sept. 14 at 6:30 p.m. at the Community Center where decisions would be discussed. The board voted 3-0 confirming the next meeting date, place and time. Commissioners Smith and Hays were not present at the meeting.
The meeting was adjourned and there was a post-meeting question and…well…non-answer period. The questions from the audience revolved around “next steps” in the petition process. For the most part Keith advised he needed to do further research on the process before he could give definitive answers. The ORS has very definitive guidelines and the current board has lots of research yet to do.
He did note that the board does plan on dissolving itself, assuming the county agrees with the petition for same. He feels the district doesn’t have “the wherewithal” to provide water to the city and is “in the way” of a full community water system.
It’s Keith’s opinion “someone with money” should get a system started (referring back to the nearly infamous “jumping off point” so frequently mentioned in tandem with water system issues). Keith also noted that it’s “my opinion only” that the county will deem it necessary to hold an election to formally dissolve the district. The first available election time would be March 2010.
So it seems folks who don’t enjoy Monday Night Football will have something to do on at least the first Monday of the month for quite some time.
By Christy Pitto
Of the Independent