Editorial

September 17, 2013

City’s cybersquatting is wrong on all levels

The city of Issaquah spent tax dollars to trick taxpayers.

Just let that sink in for a minute.

Issaquah and the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District have been involved in a series of disagreements of late. One of the more recent involved Issaquah’s plan to use a water filtration system a few hundred feet from one of the district’s wells. Issaquah says it will be fine; the district fears contaminated water.

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Issaquah hoodwinks Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District customers

September 13, 2013

NEW — 10:40 a.m. Sept. 13, 2013

A city of Issaquah employee registered websites in May in an apparent effort to deceive customers of the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District.

Mayor Ava Frisinger said in a letter the move directed by the administration was designed to counter a “misinformation campaign” from the district.

In a Sept. 12 press release, the district pointed to two domain names it found similar to ones it employs in business practices. Both sites, owned by Issaquah, not only resembled the established domains of the district, but also took an Internet user straight to a city webpage entitled “Our water, our city.”

“The Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District recently learned that the city of Issaquah has created at least two misleading Internet domains similar to those used by the district to redirect customers to Issaquah’s websites,” the press release reads. “This came to the district’s attention when a customer called and explained how she kept ending up on the Issaquah city website every time she typed in what she thought was the district’s website URL.”

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War over waterworks

May 14, 2013

Fears of pollution, seizure spark utility outcry

By Peter Clark Janet Sailer, communications manager for the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District, stands at a storm water collection pond in the Lower Reid Infiltration Gallery in the Issaquah Highlands.

By Peter Clark
Janet Sailer, communications manager for the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District, stands at a storm water collection pond in the Lower Reid Infiltration Gallery in the Issaquah Highlands.

A dispute flared into the public eye May 6 as city officials and the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District sparred over storm water pollution and Issaquah’s intentions to take over principal wells owned by the district.

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Plan for Issaquah stormwater angers water district

May 7, 2013

By Keith Ervin

Seattle Times staff reporter

More than a decade and a half after construction began on the 7,000-resident Issaquah Highlands community, renewed conflict has erupted over how to handle the stormwater it generates.

The state Department of Ecology is on track to allow treatment of the water by filtering it through sand and gravel above an aquifer that provides drinking water to tens of thousands of area residents.

Officials at Ecology and the city of Issaquah say the plan — envisioned for years — is a safe, proven way of replenishing the aquifer and removing potentially harmful bacteria.

But the area’s largest water provider, the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District, wants contaminants including fecal coliform removed before the water goes into the ground.

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Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District freezes some salaries

November 20, 2012

Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District leaders froze managers’ salaries for the foreseeable future under a new pay structure adopted Oct. 15.

The change came after a study of the agency’s compensation by Issaquah-based consultant Prothman Group. The results showed top-end salaries of the water district’s management were 12 percent to 17 percent higher than the average in several positions, compared to employees at other Puget Sound utilities and cities.

The new structure, approved by the district board of commissioners, brings those salary ranges within a percentage point or two of the typical average.

But, instead of cutting salaries, the new wage plan calls for those managers above the average to have their salary frozen until annual cost of living increases or market factors raise their position’s salary range to the employee’s current salary — $133,778 for three managers at the top of the pay scale.

City considers overseeing water, sewer service for all Issaquah residents

June 26, 2012

City and Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District officials could end up at loggerheads as the city embarks on a study to assume water and sewer service for the portion of district customers inside Issaquah city limits.

Issaquah officials budgeted $300,000 to study expanded utility service for the entire city. State law encourages municipalities to assume utility services in neighborhoods located inside city limits.

City officials said such a changeover could reduce confusion among customers and enable municipal government to better manage the water and sewer system inside city limits.

Such a change could lead to a showdown between the city and the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District, because the district is bound to shed hundreds of ratepayers if the city expands water and sewer service to all Issaquah residents.

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King County increases 2013 sewer rate

June 19, 2012

King County Council members hiked the sewer rate for 2013 to $39.79 a month per residential customer.

The rate increase approved by the council June 11 is less than the $39.85 rate King County Executive Dow Constantine proposed in April. Officials intend to keep the same rate in 2014.

The county charges the rate to 34 cities and sewer districts, including Issaquah and the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District, to carry and treat wastewater. The amount ratepayers see on bills depends on local sewer utilities. Jurisdictions set rates independently, but typically pass along such costs to customers.

Officials focused on reduced operating costs in announcing the rate increase. Read more

King County Council increases 2013 sewer rate

June 11, 2012

NEW — 4 p.m. June 11, 2012

King County Council members hiked the sewer rate for 2013 to $39.79 a month per residential customer.

The rate increase approved by the council Monday is less than the $39.85 rate King County Executive Dow Constantine proposed in April. Officials intend to keep the same rate in 2014.

The county charges the rate to 34 cities and sewer districts, including Issaquah and the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District, to carry and treat wastewater. The amount ratepayers see on bills depends on local sewer utilities. Jurisdictions set rates independently, but typically pass along such costs to customers.

Officials focused on reduced operating costs in announcing the rate increase.

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Overdale Park residents face steep fee to resolve water problems

April 17, 2012

Overdale Park homeowners could pay about $15,000 per household to change water utility providers — a transition meant to eliminate years-old concerns about arsenic contamination and fire protection.

The hillside neighborhood near the former Albertsons store in North Issaquah is involved in a process to integrate into the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District. The next step is to create a special district for Overdale homeowners to fund $1.1 million in improvements to the aging water infrastructure in the neighborhood.

The decisions to shift Overdale into the district and upgrade infrastructure came after officials discovered arsenic contamination in a well near East Lake Sammamish Parkway. The other Overdale well could no longer meet residents’ demand after decades of use. The neighborhood includes about 140 residences.

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Press Editorial

April 3, 2012

Revised water rates reject values

The Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District’s new rate structure has taken a giant step backward.

Previously, the rates had been set up so that those who use the most water pay a higher rate. Now the tiers in the rate structure have been flattened — meaning a roughly 6 percent cut in water bills to those who use the most.

Swimming pool or hot tub? Farm animals to feed? No problem, no surcharge for extra water. Same rate for everybody — in fact, please use more!

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