Though not all city council members are on board, the city of Weed is moving forward with a water agreement with Roseburg Forest Products. Receipt of a signed memorandum of understanding is on the March 10, 2016 Weed City Council meeting agenda. That would be the next step toward a formalized contract. Some who do not agree plan to participate in a protest at Weed City Hall before the meeting.
The City of Weed and Roseburg Forest Products Company have both signed a Memorandum of Agreement for a 10-year lease extension for the city’s water supply.
It is a step toward a formal contract that the city sees as a way to provide residents with “a secure water source while a long-term alternative can be identified and developed,” according to a press release.
“After more than five years of protracted negotiations and nearly a year of mediation, we are pleased to announce that we can keep the water flowing to the city for 10 more years,” Weed Mayor Ken Palfini states in a press release. “We are hopeful that the signatures on this agreement herald a new cooperative working relationship with Roseburg’s senior management for the benefit of the entire community.”
On Feb. 24, the Weed City Council, on a 3-2 vote, approved the Memorandum of Agreement proposed by Roseburg to extend the lease for the city’s water supply from Beaughan Springs for 10 years with a five year option. Roseburg signed and returned the Agreement to the city last week.
Receipt of the signed Memorandum of Agreement is on the consent agenda for the Weed City Council meeting scheduled for this Thursday, March 10, beginning at 5:30 p.m. That would be the next step toward both sides agreeing to an actual contract.
As the 3-2 vote shows, not all share the same view of the agreement and protests are being planned for today and tomorrow at Weed City Hall.
Paul Palfini, a Weed Planning Commission member, said he and city councilor Bob Hall have planned protests for 12 to 3:30 p.m. today and 3 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday before the start of the regular council meeting.
Hall and Ken Palfini both voted against the Memorandum of Agreement, while councilors Chuck Sutton, Stacey Green and Kim Green voted for it.
The Memorandum of Agreement states the City will pay $97,500 per year for 1.5 cubic feet per second (cfs) of water. The new Agreement of 1.5 cfs is lower than the 2 cfs in the current contract, according to the city.
To supplement the lower water delivery to the city outlined in the Agreement, it will be necessary for the City to seek $1.5 million in Proposition 1 funding from the state for construction of a pipeline interconnection with an additional water source, and to impose significant conservation measures, according to the release.
The City reports that it will be moving forward with a California Environmental Quality Act analysis to determine the best course of action.
“Although this Agreement gives us up to 10 years, the City must immediately begin to either develop or acquire a 2 cfs permanent source of water to meet the future needs of our community,” Palfini states in the release. “While we will be exploring options, we do recognize that an alternative source to the water from Beaughan Springs may simply not be available.”
The Council continued an Emergency Declaration until March 10, 2016 that would have expedited funding for an alternative water solution. With the agreement signed, the Emergency Declaration will not be considered.
The current 50-year contract terminates in June. If the Agreement had not been reached, the City of Weed states in the release that it “would have had no viable, cost-effective water source available for immediate use. City officials had plans in place to deliver potable water to residents had an agreement not been reached.”