PUD Suspends Meter Project
At the March 6th Regular Meeting of the Jefferson County PUD Board of Commissioners, Assistant General Manager Kevin Streett recommended that the PUD stop its much-debated meter replacement project.
“I believe in this project, I think we need this project, and I think it’s a good project. I just don’t feel it is in the PUD’s best interest to push forward right now,” Streett said after the meeting. He had explained to the commissioners and the members of the public that “with the new GM coming in and the PUD looking for a new CFO it is just too much.”
The PUD Board of Commissioners have offered the General Manager position to former Port Angeles and current City of Ellensburg utility manager Larry Dunbar. The Board met in executive session before the regular meeting to discuss contract terms. Board President and District 1 Commissioner Jeff Randall told attendees of the regular meeting that initial discussions with Dunbar had gone well and that Dunbar had requested an April 23rd start if contract negotiations are successful.
Randall and District 2 Commissioner Ken Collins agreed with Streett’s recommendation. Collins declared that stopping the meter project “makes very good sense to me.” Randall indicated that though the issue will need to be revisited, his conversations with Streett had assured him that the project could wait.
Randall and Collins voted to “direct staff to put the meter project on hold until the new general manager is in place and can determine the priority level of this project against other projects.” District 3 Commissioner Wayne King was not in attendance due to illness.
“We don’t need to do it right now,” said Randall. “We do need to be focused on getting a General Manager and giving that manager the best chance of success as possible. We also need a CFO. The next General Manager will have plenty of issues to deal with without also dealing with the meters.”
An attendee at the meeting asked if putting the project on hold also meant abandoning the RFP awarded to ITRON. Streett responded that “things have to be worked through. They have issued a PO, but we have not signed a master sales agreement.” Streett elaborated that he would speak to ITRON, as well as Landis & Gyr, with whom the PUD has a contract to read the majority of its current meters, and report back to the board with more information at later meetings.