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Let's get these water projects done

The elections are behind us and I am reminded of the immediate priority task in hand: water capital improvements.

Time has come to concentrate on the works to be done on our aged pipes and the very old Bolton Reservoir.

For the past decade, the utility hardware is deteriorating fast and continuing to do so. Detritus rust causes frequent pipe breakdowns throughout the mapped pipe system; costly repairs are draining the water funds that we have not.

Never mind the losses on wasted capacity intake water when we should be saving it.

Also, bursting water pipes sagging deep in the surfaces are damaging the roads, streets, sidewalks and other areas. The costs add up.

Operations staff cannot keep up the daily routine maintenance as it is. These troublesome consequences impose now crucial actions to improve these pipes and the Bolton Reservoir replacement.

Further, neglect on these projects would convey disastrous situations. While the city spends substantial money to repair, we could be replacing them just as easily. But, a snag in our city charter says this job must be authorized by us resident voters to sanction capital maintenances in procuring the necessary means for city staff to acquire funds to pay for these replacement infrastructures.

City water master plans, repeatedly, confirm the problems with our existing water infrastructures. So, there is talk on financial costs aspects.

Although unlike the inaccurate rumors ($33 million) floating around, West Linn water capital improvement investments are budgeted less than the propagandas.

The actual cost is $19 to $20 million. I can attest that the budget for pipes and the Bolton Reservoir renewals is quite affordable.

Chief Financial Officer Richard Seals’ water budget plan is clear and feasible. It’s on the website too. How do the figures on these projects compute factually?

Recently it was concluded, after intensive studies, that rather than the city (us) issue and pay bonds plus interest, we should have a monthly rate increase of about $3; such an increase and/plus the charter’s 5 percent, could process the pipes’ work - projects done! We save on repairs, capacity and maintenance.

In short, city saves funds and we conserve water - sustainability is gained too. Major water-related repair expenses are overcome.

We all agree money saved is well earned.

Lastly, we are a responsible city and accountable for our water quality. Let’s be positive in the upcoming water ballot measure requiring our votes.

Share your ideas. Exchange your thoughts with your neighbors. Let’s get these waterworks done.

Alice Richmond is a West Linn resident and member of the utility advisory board.




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