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Council finally approves contract with WSUD

An interlocal cooperative agreement between the West Sound Utility District and Port Orchard was finally ratified at the April 22 council meeting.

The council voted 4-3 to approve the agreement — signed Feb. 12 by the utility district commissioners — for the management and operation of the South Kitsap Water Reclamation Facility. The 1983 agreement ended Dec. 31 and was extended until March 1.

The council has been split on approving a new contract with the district. Some council members have questioned who owns and is responsible for the marina pump station and force main which collects sewage from city residents and sends it to the wastewater treatment facility in Annapolis.

Voting in favor of the agreement were councilmembers Rob Putaansuu, Bek Ashby, Fred Chang and Jeff Cartwright, while Jerry Childs, Cindy Lucarelli and John Clauson opposed.

At the start of the meeting, Mayor Tim Matthes addressed the audience concerning an April 17 meeting in which four council members — part of an ad-hoc committee assigned to make a recommendation to the council regarding the contract — attended to discuss the agreement.

Childs, Chang, Lucarelli and Clauson were assigned to the ad-hoc committee.

He said a fourth council member attended unexpectedly and that the city recognized that a proper notice was not given when a quorum of council members met to discuss city business which violated the Open Meetings Act.

“The city will take measure to make sure this does not happen again,” Matthes.

Committee discusses recommendation

Clauson read a summary of the April 17 meeting and that the committee met with the purpose of discussing a recommendation concerning the interlocal agreement.

“As a preliminary matter, it was noted four council members were present and that the city attorney commented he believed the city clerk had properly noticed the meeting as a special meeting of the council and that the meeting could proceed,” Clauson read.

He said after discussing several options, the committee agreed to propose to the district board of commissioners that the city and district appoint a representative to meet and resolve the ownership issue.

Putaansuu said documents show that the pump station is the property of the city.

Clauson said if the entire council is not comfortable with the agreement, they should hold a meeting with the district to work out an agreement.

Matthes said the city should move forward with the agreement.

Open Meetings Act

Matthes said the city discussed the matter with the Association of Washington Cities and the Municipal Research and Services Center (MSRC) to correct the matter concerning the meeting.

The meeting was recorded and is available to the public on the website, he added.

Matthes said when the item concerning the agreement comes before the council that citizens would be allowed to comment.

During discussion about the interlocal agreement, Childs said at a recent council meeting, all four members of the ad-hoc committee expressed interest in attending a meeting to discuss a recommendation on the agreement.

Childs said he doesn’t know how the confusion came about concerning posting a notice about a special meeting. He said City Clerk Brandy Rinearson sent out an email to the council members, asking who was going to attend the April 17 meeting.

“Everyone responded they were going to go and it was with more than 24 hours,” he said. “It should have been able to have been noticed.”

Childs said over the last few months, a council member had been attending committee meetings which also created a quorum.

“I don’t recall any great dilemma over that. I can understand why we want to do things right,” said Childs.

City Attorney Greg Jacoby said the concern was that the meeting was not noticed properly.

Childs said he had two emails from Rinearson that she would give notice about the meeting.

“Did she give notice?” Childs asked.

“No, she didn’t,” responded the mayor.

Jacoby said the clerk gave notice, but was confused about what type of notice.

“It was a notice for a committee meeting because we understood that three councilmembers would be attending,” Jacoby said.

Childs said there were four councilmembers named in the email he sent to Rinearson.

“I don’t why we are doing all this,” Childs said.

Jacoby said the city wants the public to know that it takes the Open Meetings Act, “Very seriously.”

“If there was a mistake, we’re not citing blame. The mistake occurred and we want to confess up to it,” said Jacoby.

 

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