Request for water rate reduction delayed

S-E Staff Reporter

Colville City Council turned down a proposal to give all 501(c)(3) organizations with irrigation units a new 50 percent reduction in water rates.

Representative of Dominion Meadows Athletic Association came before council on Feb. 28 requesting that the water rates for 501(c)(3) organizations with irrigation units be reduced from $0.85 per 1,000 gallons to $0.43.

According to the city’s current water rates, an irrigation unit has a monthly base rate of $29.83 for each irrigation meter and an additional commodity charge of $0.85 per 1,000 gallons up to 27,000 gallons. If that amount is exceeded in any given season, then the rate is increased to $1.64 per 1,000 gallons for the remainder of the year.

A 501(c)(3) irrigation unit is defined as water use by a nonprofit corporation who chooses to have a separate meter to irrigate lawns, gardens other landscape items or for other non-sewer related uses.

At 66 percent, Dominion Meadows is the largest user of water of the 501(c)(3) organizations with irrigation units in Colville.

There are 15 different 501(c)(3) organizations with irrigation units in Colville.

Other 501(c)(3) organizations in Colville with irrigation units are Providence Mount Carmel Hospital, Hudesman Housing Apartments, Central Colville Apartments, Stevens County Historical Society, Northeast Washington Fairgrounds and eight assorted churches.

The city collects approximately $40,332 from the 15 water users annually. An additional 50 percent water rate reduction would decrease the city’s revenue to approximately $20,166.

“We are extremely proud of the golf course and feel it's a huge asset to the Colville community and all of Stevens County,” said Michael Cashion, President of the Dominion Meadows Athletic Association.

Dominion Meadows Athletic Association consists of 387 members.

Golf Course Superintendent Greg Schmidt is heading into his 13th year overseeing the Dominion Meadows Golf Course. Schmidt is one of the few paid employees. Approximately 4,500 volunteer hours are put into the golf course during the appropriate eight month season.

“Our whole golf course lives on volunteers,” said Schmidt. “A student may be hired to help with watering, but that's it.

“This golf course means a lot to the community, everybody around here and the volunteers.”

Council decided to wait to vote on the issue and asked Cashion to return to council with numbers for a 20, 35, and 50 percent water rate reduction and a pilot project proposal. The pilot project would allow council to see the type of impact the rate reduction would have on the city.

Read the full story in the March 8 edition of the Statesman-Examiner, which is available online through e-editions (