Commission Meeting Summary 1-11-2022: Grant PUD commission districts shuffled to reflect population growth

Voters east and south of Moses Lake, in the McConihe Flats area, and in a small part of south Ephrata may have a different Grant PUD commissioner representing them after a redistricting proposal is approved in February.

Randalynn Hovland, clerk of the Grant PUD Commission, explained in a presentation to commissioners during a public hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 11, that Grant PUD is adjusting its boundaries in coordination with Grant County government.

Typically redistricting happens every 10 years following the U.S. Census to keep the populations in the districts nearly equal, Hovland explained.

In 2010, Grant PUD District No. 1 had a population of 29,940, District No. 2 had 29,532 and District No. 3 was 29,640. With the proposed redistricting changes, No. 1 has a population of 33,026, No. 2 has 32,986 and No. 3 has 33,111.

Grant PUD District No. 1, which is represented by Judy Wilson, will gain the most ground. Its borders will now extend beyond I-90, going east of Highway 17, and stretching south to Road 6 SE all the way to the eastern Grant County line. Those areas are presently a part of District No. 2, with Terry Pyle as the commissioner.

District No. 1 will also gain some of the residences in the McConihe Flats area west of Highway 17 and south Ephrata near Railroad Avenue, from District No. 3, represented by Larry Schaapman.

Hovland explained that the two at-large districts, A represented by Tom Flint and B represented by Nelson Cox, will not change.

The formal resolution adopting the changes will be presented to the commissioners for review at their Jan. 25 meeting. The commission is expected to take action on the redistricting resolution during its Feb. 8 meeting.

The proposed changes can be viewed at grantpud.org/commission-meetings and see the presentation on pages 90-106 of the commission presentation materials and hear the discussion beginning at 4:20:30 of the commission audio.

In other business:

Recreational Survey Results Show Positive Impacts

To learn more about visitors' opinions of Grant PUD's recreation areas, staff conducted a combination of in person and online surveys with overnight and day-use guests at the utility's recreation areas last summer. In addition to monitoring usage of its parks each year, Grant PUD conducted similar visitor surveys in 2015 and 2018 following redevelopment of Grant PUD's 19 recreation areas.

Last summer's survey, which is part of Grant PUD's federal license requirement to monitor recreation activities, was originally planned to be conducted in 2020, but was delayed one-year due to the impacts of the pandemic.

Jerri Mickle, License Implementation Supervisor said that more than 94% of those surveyed last summer reported their overall experience at Grant PUD's recreation areas met or exceeded their expectations.

In addition to overall satisfaction, the survey measured how visitors are using the recreation areas.

Camping, swimming, relaxing, and boating were the primary activities respondents participated in during their visit to one of Grant PUD's recreation areas.

Once final analysis is complete, the survey results help guide Grant PUD's decisions on what, if any, changes may be beneficial at its public recreation areas.

"We've made great strides in our recreation," said Commissioner Schaapman. "We've had COVID-19 challenges that we went through and we've really risen to the occasion and we have some premier locations."

Compared to the previous year, campsite occupancy at all of Grant PUD's recreation areas increased in 2021 with a total of 10,310 overnight stays, an increase of approximately 22.8% compared to 2020. All Grant PUD campsites were closed for 67 days in 2020 due to COVID-19.

Anne Chamberlain, Lands Specialist, said that nearly 22% of the survey respondents pay a Grant PUD electric bill, while King County residents accounted for the largest number of responses from one county.

See the full report and learn about the additional business activities from the License Compliance and Lands service presentation on pages 17-47 of the commission presentation materials and hear the discussion beginning at 1:07:50 of the commission audio.

Power Production keeps up with maintenance

Ty Ehrman, senior manager of Power Production, told the commission that his division successfully completed overhauls of one generating unit at Wanapum Dam and one at Priest Rapids Dam on time during the 2021 and 2022 season.

Some of the major projects underway at Grant PUD's power generating facilities include improvements to Priest Rapids Dam's right embankment and rehabilitation of Priest Rapids' Generating Unit No. 4.

Hear the discussion beginning at 48:15 on the commission audio and see the presentation on pages 49-62 of the commission packet.

Commissioners also:

-Heard from Grant PUD's external financial auditor, Moss Adams as they outlined their group's plans and objectives for conducting an audit of Grant PUD's 2021 financials. The financial audit, which includes a review of internal controls and compliance over financial reporting is anticipated to be completed later this spring. A final report will be provided to the commission when the audit is finalized. Hear the discussion beginning at 2:23:00 on the commission audio and see the presentation on pages 49-62 of the commission packet.

-Learned about the proposed updates to the utility's ethics policy. The policy which applies to all employees, officers and commissioners. The revision updates various sections of the existing policy which was adopted in 2014. Learn more about the proposed updates on pages 1-16 of the presentation materials and hear the discussion beginning at 48:15 of the commission audio.

-Commissioners received quarterly reports from the departments of Reliability and Compliance and Enterprise Risk Management see the presentation on pages 68-89 of the commission presentation materials

-Approved a change order increasing a contract with POWER Engineers by $102,858.20 for engineering support to help with the roll-out of the GEN2 ESRI GIS system.

-Commissioners received the following review items prior to them taking action at a later meeting.

  • Awarding a bid of $1.857 million for overhead power line to Consolidated Electrical Distributors, Inc.
  • An updated ethics policy that provides more clarity for employees to avoid and report unethical behavior.
  • An updated commission governance policy that defines the commission's relationship with the new position of Chief Resource Officer.
  • A resolution of amending rate schedules 30, 21 and establishing a new Rate Schedule 34. These rate schedules are for wholesale transmission delivery of power. The proposed changes will align rates more closely with actual costs of service.
  • A proposed five-year $2.935 million contract with the Colville Confederated Tripes for steelhead monitoring and evaluation program in the Okanogan river basin.
  • A purchase and sale agreement with John W. Cascade Gebbers and Alycia Gebbers to purchase 5 acres of property in the Rocky Ford area for $6,500 for construction of the new Big Bend Switchyard.
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