The Winthrop Town Council on Wednesday (Oct. 6) approved a proposal to allow a consulting company to pursue funding to buy additional water rights for the town.
Currently Winthrop’s water rights amount to 640 gallons per minute (gpm) and 469 acre-feet per year. This spring, the council approved a $8,900 contract with Aspect Consulting to research and consult on the possibility of expanding the town’s water rights. A 2011 study recommended increasing capacity to 1,108 gpm and 814 acre-feet per year.
On Wednesday, city staff reported that there was an opportunity to acquire 150 acre-feet of new water rights for the town, and proposed an increase of $5,000 in the contract with Aspect, which councilors approved unanimously.
“Under this scope of work, Aspect will coordinate a presentation and meeting between the Town, Chewuch Canal Company, and (the state Department of) Ecology, develop a proposed scope of work for additional grant funding, attend meetings as the Town requires with [the] Council, and perform other on-call work as requested,” according to council meeting documents.
The council approved a second contract amendment with Aspect for $2,500 to allow the company to work toward obtaining “primary source approval” from the state Department of Health for the town’s Well No. 2, which is currently only permitted as an emergency backup water supply.
The well hasn’t operated for 10 years and currently has no electrical power. The contract amendment allows Aspect to organize a site visit, communication with the state DOH and a pumping test plan. Once that plan is created, the town will need to approve a separate scope of work to move forward.
The council also discussed the upcoming timeline for their 2022 budget process. The preliminary budget is scheduled to go to the council on Oct. 27, then between Nov. 1 and Nov. 16, the council will meet and review the preliminary budget.
On Wednesday, the council agreed to have a special meeting Nov. 4 to discuss the budget.
The town council is also tentatively scheduled to review the draft 2022 budget in their regular public meeting on Nov. 17, and will also hold a public hearing on that day to discuss Ad Valorem and EMS property tax levies.
On Nov. 19, the 2022 draft budget will be made available to the public. A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for Dec. 1, with a possible hearing continuance to Dec. 15. The budget is scheduled to be adopted Dec. 15.
In other business, the council approved the appointment of Chas Savage to the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee.