Devils Lake District Swarms for Stimulus
DEQ funds destined for SolarBees are now unlikely due to an incomplete application. The DEQ application was the most promising of three funding sources applied for by the DLWID. While this is good news, the project will remain on DEQ’s Intended Use Plan for three years giving the district two more bites at the apple. Therefore it is still important to provide your comments as requested in our post, Call To Action–Write The DEQ. In the interest of improving our message, please forward your comments to us at [email protected]. According to the article in the Newport News Times, published March 13th;
“The Devils Lake Water Improvement District’s application for a healthy chunk of stimulus funds was ranked No. 9 out of 162 statewide projects, but Oregon Department of Environmental Quality officials say the organization is unlikely to receive any federal money due to an incomplete application.”…
Filed under DLWID, Solarbees
The Devils Lake Water Improvement District held their annual budget meeting in the District’s office on May 11, 2009 at 10:00 am. In addition to the DLWID Board and Budget Committee members, two lake front residents were in attendance. We’ll cover just the meeting in this post and get you more details on the budget and the process in coming posts.
The 2009-2010 Budget was discussed for nearly 3 ½ hours culminating in the committees approval by a 6-1 vote of the proposed budget, with what amounted to a few minor presentation changes. Prior to this final vote a motion was defeated by a 5-2 vote to recommend a budget that removed the SolarBees project, more specifically, -$26,821 from the General Fund expenditures and -$1,067,380 from the Improvement Fund expenditures.
There were several concerns raised by the Budget Committee members. Two of the concerns did result in a change in the proposed budget by language placed in the motion that passed.
- Modify the budget message to clarify the authority granted to the board by approval of the budget by the committee.
- Change the budget for the Improvement Fund, specifically line 32 of LB-11, entitled “Reserved for Future Expenditure” will be reduced from $320,912 to $13,500. This change accurately identifies the Districts total reserved funds after purchase of 20 SolarBees.
Several of the concerns raised by Budget Committee members did not result in changes to the budget. The District explained that they could juggle funds to cover the additional expenditures.
- The proposed budget contains a new program in which the District “will provide the means” for lake front homeowners to “document the serviceability of their septic system in order to continue to receive municipal water”. Those homeowners who have septic systems needing repair will have water service suspended and be offered a loan from a pool of $100,000 from DLWID with a 5-10 year repayment schedule to make modifications. There are no expenses in the budget specifically identified for this program. Nothing, to cover the initial creation of the program or ongoing labor costs, billing costs, postage, or uncollectables that might be associated with such a program. It was suggested a figure be calculated to cover the expenditure.
- The proposed budget will make a $1,067,380 capital investment placing 20 SolarBees on the lake. The operating budget contains $0, for associated operating costs, routine maintenance or repairs due to damage or wear and tear from the harsh environment. The committee expressed concern that the District will exhaust its reserve with the initial purchase and has designated no ongoing expenditures associated with the project. It was suggested a figure be calculated to cover the expenditure.
- The budget contains the creation of a new reserve account to fund the eventual replacement of the DLWID vehicle. It was discussed that with the added duties on maintaining 20 SolarBees a similar reserve should be considered for the DLWID boat.
- It was stated that the District will need to find a new contractor to perform the tasks associated with lake level management. It was also stated that there would be additional tasks for this contractor beyond that required today. The budget amount for this item was not changed from the previous year and it was suggested it be increased.
- It was suggested that the legal budget be increased due to the potential of a future legal challenge related to the placement of SolarBees.
- It was suggested that the Public Relations budget is significantly less than in years past. Several of the committee members felt strongly that the public needs to be better informed as it relates to DLWID’s activities. The resolution that approved the budget includes language requesting public meetings specifically to accomplish this. With that in mind a request was made to increase the Public Relations budget amount to cover these efforts.
- Finally, as suggestion was made that certain cuts to the budget are made now to help cover the perceived shortfall from the above items. A specific recommendation was made to cut the summer intern and the RARE intern for a potential savings of $24,000.
The Devil’s Lake Water Improvement District (DLWID) continues to pursue the placement of 20 SolarBees on Devil’s Lake despite the protests of those present at last night’s board meeting. DLWID has made several applications attempting to fund this project. Two of the applications are for grants, one with the EPA and one with NOAA, neither of these appear to have a public comment period.
The third application which may be the most likely to be approved is through the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. This application was for $762,000 under the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Loan Program. The State’s process contains an internal review followed by publication in the Proposed Intended Use Plan (IUP) at which point, a 30 day public comment period opens. The plan was published today which means the comment period will run until June 8th. Each project is ranked and the DLWID project was ranked 9 which according to DEQ, if project is able to satisfy all State Revolving Fund requirements, there would be a strong likelihood of funding.
Who To Write:
It is time to comment. It is easy. Written comments may be mailed, faxed or e-mailed to
Email: Rick Watters of DEQ at [email protected] or
Mail: Oregon DEQ, Water Quality Division
811 SW Sixth Ave.
Portland, OR 97204-1390
Fax: (503) 229-6037
What To Write:
Research this application has much as you want but at a minimum ask them to refuse funding, and let them know three things
- You knew nothing or little of the project,
- You do not support the project,
- You do not feel there is large enough problem to justify the project.
These three items are major misrepresentations in DLWID’s application.
DLWID DEQ Application
Proposed Intended Use Plan Update #3
Clean Water State Revolving Fund Program Checklist
Filed under DLWID, Solarbees
The Devils Lake Water Improvement District meeting was tonight. Please leave your thoughts and comments on this post so those who could not attend will know what was said.
The Devils Lake Water Improvement District meets next Thursday May 7, 2009 at 6pm. For specifics on the meeting please download the Agenda and Support items. According to the meeting material created by Paul Robinson and posted on the DLWID website:
“As we may expect some new attendees to the meeting, I intend to go through a slideshow presentation about Whole Lake Circulation. This slideshow has been and currently is available on our website on the Project Page. Additionally complete copies of all of the presentation given to the DLWID Board of Directors from SolarBee representatives (dating back to February 2007) are available online at http://www.DLWID.org.”
Given DLWID’s intention to give a formal presentation on the SolarBees project we are encouraging you to attend and hear more about their intentions. Since SoarBees are an agenda item, it will be a great opportunity to express your opinions on the project.
For the benefit of those who cannot attend, it would be wonderful to receive a brief summary of the impressions of those who do attend this meeting. Either by email at [email protected] or as a comment on the blog. We’ll create a post for that purpose.
The DLWID Budget Committee meeting will be held on Monday, May 11th at 10am. The 2009-2010 DLWID Budgetwas published today and is available for review from the DLWID website. A quick review of the budget reveals proposed funding for the SolarBees project. According to the Budget Committee meeting announcement:
“The public is encourage to attend and will be provided an opportunity to comment.”
The Water District’s offices are located at 820 SE Hwy 101 Suite D, Lincoln City, Oregon 97367, that’s upstairs from Radio Shack.
Filed under DLWID, Solarbees
Ever wonder what these SolarBees® look like at night? We did! After our visit to a SolarBees® site one evening we got our answer. Thought you might be curious too, so we shot a video. Play attached video and you’ll get to see what we observed on our field trip.
Filed under DLWID, Solarbees