Council considers how to spend water money
Though it won't receive the majority of the money garnered from the 'Big Pipe' water access agreement for eight years, Wilsonville City Council is already deliberating how it should spend it.
As part of an agreement with Tualatin Valley Water District and various Portland metro area cities to build a water pipeline from the Willamette River Water Treatment plant in Wilsonville to Hillsboro, the City of Wilsonville will receive more than $17 million in prepaid rents. It will receive about $174,000 per year for 10 years and then a lump sum of more than $15 million in 2026.
Though 2026 Wilsonville City Council members will have the authority to approve uses for the majority of the revenue, Wilsonville City Council could set a framework for how the money should be spent and discussed various ideas for the money at the work session.
The project will require extensive construction in Wilsonville and Wilsonville Mayor Tim Knapp suggested using the money for a visible amenity that would benefit the community and, in a sense, reward them for braving hassles associated with construction.
Councilor Charlotte Lehan liked the idea of using the money to keep utility rates down.
"I think some significant portion should be there to keep rates down directly or indirectly with the public works building, the water treatment plant, because that was a part of the whole promise from the beginning was that as we add other users to the system it would help keep Wilsonville's rates down or limit or rates from going up," she said.
Wilsonville staff also brought up the idea of using the money for a loan to the Coffee Creek Industrial Area urban renewal district to fund improvements to Garden Acres Road, which the City has struggled to fund due to a lack of development in the area.
Knapp insisted Wilsonville shouldn't feel obligated to use the money for water-related uses.
"I remember all the discussions that were problematic when they (Portland) spent what they defined as 'water money' on things that proved to not be water projects. I don't quite see this as the same because I don't think this is water money," he said. "This is money to account for the current and potential future impacts on public infrastructure that's owned by the citizens of Wilsonville. That's a broader piece than water money."
The council will need to pass a resolution to establish a plan for the cash infusion.
Council passes first reading of stormwater, I-5 resolutions
Wilsonville also passed the first reading of resolutions to increase the severity of stormwater violations and the recommendation of a plan to alleviate traffic along I-5 at the City Council meeting.
The stormwater code changes would increase the maximum fine of stormwater violations from $500 to $5,000 and up to $1,000 per day for those who continue to violate the code after the initial fine. Some violations include grease seeping into the stormwater system and runoff from trash enclosures. Developers and property owners must ensure that sediment-laden water doesn't leave their site and protect the site from erosion. A second reading of the resolution will go before the council June 18.
The ODOT I-5 Wilsonville Facility plan proposes the implementation of an auxiliary lane from the I-5 Wilsonville Road Southbound on-ramp to the Canby-Hubbard off-ramp. Wilsonville is close to officially recommending the Oregon Transportation Commission approve the plan so that it can be added to the state's project list with a funding timeline of 2028-2040. The plan also includes analyzing the Boone Bridge to determine if it needs seismic upgrades.
A second reading of the resolution will go before the council June 18.