Water district should join study

April 9, 2014

By Staff

Sammamish plans to study its water districts to see if taking them over makes sense. The Northeast Sammamish Water and Sewer District has rejected even the idea of a study.

Their rejection seems based on little more than guesses, and is no way to run a public entity.

The city proposes a study, with an estimated $30,000 cost attached, to look at the possibility of taking over the district. The district has churlishly refused even considering a study, instead they’ve set aside $600,000 — 20 times as much — to fight the effort.

The reasons the district gives: They don’t think it will be useful. They don’t think. They can’t say they know it won’t be a valuable study, because they have no facts.

They don’t know if the city or the water district will be better able to provide the service in the future, they don’t know which way is cheaper, they don’t know which is more efficient. They just think it won’t be useful.

So, instead of spend half of $30,000 to get some real facts, they are ready to spend $600,000 to protect themselves.

As an opening volley, district officials have issued statements filled with hypotheticals and half-truths in an attempt to scare residents about the evils of a city takeover.

This seems less like a public entity protecting its constituents, and more like a bureaucracy protecting itself.

And, opting out of the study isn’t doing the district any favors. The city does not need the district’s permission to conduct a study, so it will likely go on anyway.

By refusing to take a seat at the table, the district won’t have a say in setting the parameters for the study and in deciding which metrics to use. They are going to cede control of the entire process.

Instead of finding out what is definitively in the best interests of their ratepayers, they seem more interested in waging an (effective) PR campaign aimed at scaring the city away from the idea.

The city should forge ahead with the study, and the district should join them.

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