June 13, 2017 | Ellensburg |
BY SUSAN COLTS
“THE SENTINEL” ~
Bruce Coe and Susan Colts, representing the Kittitas County Citizens Alliance for Property Rights (CAPR), formally introduced the newly formed chapter at the BOCC hearings in Ellensburg June 13. They also submitted for public record a statement requesting specific information and actions regarding water decisions by the BOCC.
Following is the statement in its entirety.
Kittitas County Board of County Commissioners
Thank you for the opportunity to address the Board. First, we would like to formally introduce you to the Kittitas County Chapter of CAPR or Citizens Alliance for Property Rights. We are a statewide organization with Chapters in a number of individual Counties; we are local citizens representing the Kittitas County presence of this organization. Our sole purpose is supporting and representing private property owners and their rights to legally use private property coupled with oversight of city and county leadership that may infringe, impede or impact private property and owners of private property.
Today, you are seeking public input on two separate actions to be taken on behalf of Kittitas County citizens. These actions will be for the additional purchase of senior irrigation water permits for seasonal use of water. If the read on this publication is correct, one use is related to the Teanaway River Basin while the other involves surface water directly from Coleman Creek.
Implementation of this will require the expenditure of approximately $5 million of additional tax dollars added to the millions of dollars already expended by the BOCC on behalf of County citizens for rural water. We currently reserve comments on this action as the BOCC has not provided any background, supporting documentation, need or targeted long-range planning regarding these purchases.
We ask that the Board continue this public hearing until such time as documentation and accounting are provided by the BOCC to County citizens for purchases already completed and expectations of what this additional water will provide for County Citizenry into the future. The BOCC has been actively supporting senior water right holders regarding impacts or impairments of their holdings by existing and future county exempt water uses but now is the time for a transparent accounting of those impacts.
At a minimum, we request the BOCC provide an accounting of:
- Total cost to date of the William-Amerivest water bank,
- Total cost to date for the Roth-Clennon Water Bank,
- Cost to date of prior additional county purchases for water, how these purchases are moving through the mitigation process, the cost to date for processing of this water, the anticipated total cost of mitigation for this purchase, the expected area of service and the expected ERU’s the mitigated water purchase will provide,
- The annual historical cost to the County for the administration of these programs,
- A comprehensive anticipated analysis of areas that the Teanaway Valley Family Farm water purchase will serve, number of ERU’s anticipated and amount of holding that will be lost to mitigation,
- A comprehensive anticipated analysis of areas that the Schnebly water purchase will serve, number of ERU’s anticipated and amount of holding that will be lost to mitigation,
- What actions the BOCC is taking to remove restrictions to existing red zone parcels and those property owners still impacted by County water restrictions,
- What actions the BOCC is taking to increase water access to rural lot owners in the Upper Kittitas Valley,
- What comprehensive water plan has the BOCC put in place to address water resource management and accountability to County citizens,
We request that any and all water purchases be delayed until a complete accounting of past purchases is complete and a transparent water resource management program implemented.
The BOCC has expended a significant amount of County tax dollars in determining that rural water use is, in fact, a “de minimis” quantity. Some accounting put the total consumptive use of exempt rural water use countywide in the range of 10 AF per year. As citizens, we see in the BOCC purchase what appears to be overlapping water permits in some areas while other areas continue to experience groundwater restrictions.
We respectfully question just how much the BOCC is willing to spend in offsetting the small amount of water attributed to exempt rural water consumption. We question the significant expenditure of tax dollars that doesn’t seem to satisfy the needs of red zone properties. We question the BOCC acting on behalf of the Citizens with no outline or defined goals for public water management.
So again, we request that this and any future water permit purchases be delayed until the BOCC has provided the accounting and transparency needed to allay concerns of County citizens.
Respectively submitted June 13, 2017
Kittitas County CAPR BOD