Enumclaw Courier Herald Letters to the Editor | March 2
March 4, 2009 · Updated 10:46 AM
City easier to deal with than outsider forces
I would like to put some perspective on Linda Atkins’ letter about the city getting out of the gas business. There are three small cities with their own natural gas utilities in the state of Washington, Enumclaw, Buckley and Ellensburg. That Enumclaw has had some maintenance issues is unfortunate and should, of course, be corrected. However, to jump from this issue to getting out of the utility business does not seem justified. As I recall it was not too many years ago that a house in the Bellevue area was demolished by a gas explosion. That explosion was traced to the faulty installation of an anti-corrosion device on the gas line. That was a Puget Sound Energy line. Size does not automatically ensure flawless performance.
As to the price of natural gas through our utility, it has been known for some time that they would not always be the least expensive, because they do not have the volume to negotiate the lowest prices with the wholesalers. Having said that, I’m pretty confident that they get the best price they can and won’t be increasing it from time to time to increase their profit.
Finally, this is not the first time the subject has been broached. Some years ago I attended a public meeting on this very subject and the majority opinion was that, even if the price was a little more, we would rather deal with our local Enumclaw utility than with a large company to the north. Of course, now that large company is owned by offshore interests.
City garbage and water a concern
I am writing in response to Mr. Angus’ letter regarding the city’s policies regarding garbage and I also have a water concern I would like to share.
I am a single mom of 10 years who works two jobs and have lived at my present address for 20-plus years. I pay property taxes and income taxes along with numerous city taxes. In the past two years, my water, sewer, and garbage bill has climbed from around $100 to as much as $179 a month. (I have no natural gas and one garbage can collected) My city bill is higher than my power bill many months and I have electric forced air heat. I work with a lady that does not even live in her home presently, but is still charged a $60 base fee just to have water to her house ($60 even if you have used no water in a month). PSE is much more gracious when you call and does not charge you $20 a month for being late. I have received no help from the city’s Finance Department regarding my water problem.
I am forwarding my concern to our state governor and congress and going to ask for a complete audit of my water account. I feel like Enumclaw has probably broken some laws in reference to their water charges. It feels like a monopoly to me.
When I realized that my bill had gotten to a ridiculous amount, I decided to implement replacing faucets inside and out, along with my toilets into some remodeling I was doing during spring and summer of 2007. I then saw that this did not make much difference in my bill, so I pleaded with city workers and finance division to help me with this mystery. After much pleading, the city replaced my water meter, which seemed to help a bit, but my water bill is still running very high.
My biggest problem is that the city of Enumclaw has put a $20 to $25 charge on late accounts monthly. In the past, I have been able to get my bill to $0, but with Enumclaw city’s new stringent rules regarding late charges, I am unable to get it taken care of and still buy groceries for my three sons.
I also would like to echo Mr. Angus’ remarks regarding our city’s garbage and recycling system. I too try to recycle as I believe we should all do for the future of our children and planet.
However, when we forget to put a can out (happened at Christmas time when I was working my second job and my kids were home) and put two out the next week, heaven forbid that they can remember we forgot or make an exception. I believe our city would rather have us all infested with rats rather than take an extra can once in a while. Do our city officials want garbage strewn around our streets and in our yards?
I also have experienced our city garbage workers sloppy ways. I had a neighbor a few years ago that didn’t really care what her yard looked like and would not pick up anything dropped. I was continually picking up Styrofoam peanuts and dirty diapers left on our street by garbage men. I have called the city shops reporting this and was told, “sorry” but no one will be coming back to pick up their mess.
What has happened to our beautiful small town ways? Did these go when the city allowed all of these housing developments in? How much money did our quaint city make from building permits? It is a shame.
City grew on dairy farming and logging
Regarding the logo for the city. There has been talk about the mountain, which never had anything to do with making Enumclaw what it is today.
Yes, Mrs. Wise, the horses had a lot to do with it.
What really made this city, as us old-timers know, was the fir trees and the dairy farming.
The dairy farmers got the creamery started, which helped this city grow,
The fir trees created the biggest industry with the logging and the lumber.
The logo should be a barn, cows and fir trees.
The mountain drew a lot of tourists through town, but they never left a lot of money.
Jack R. Cuddie