Customers in the Dumbeck Lane Water District got reassuring news Wednesday. Arrangements have been made for continued water service after their small district outside the urban growth boundary in North Albany goes out of business this fall.
The district has only about 120 customers spread out over the rural area along Oak Grove Drive and Dumbeck Avenue, as far away as Independence Highway. This spring the board of directors, with five positions, was down to three members and one didn’t seek re-election. This would have left the board without a quorum and unable to conduct business, including paying its bill to the city of Albany, from which it buys its water under a wholesale contract.
The situation led to an effort to dissolve the district and have water service provided by the Albany system directly to the Dumbeck customers. This required a good deal of working out, and on Wednesday Albany Public Works Director Chris Bailey laid the details before the city council.
It’s complicated, but the essentials are these: The Dumbeck district will be absorbed by the North Albany County Service District, governed by the Benton County Board of Commissioners. Albany has a 1990 agreement with the county district to provide water service to a limited number of customers outside the city limits, and that agreement will be amended to cover the present Dumbeck customers.
The council voted unanimously Wednesday to approve a resolution incorporating the addition of Dumbeck in the city’s water rate schedule. (The council is back to virtual meetings online because of Covid.)
Bailey said the price Dumbeck customers will pay for water won’t change much. Some of them have been paying an extra $19 a month to pay off a state loan to the Dumbeck system, and they’ll continue to be charged that amount till the loan is paid off.
The city and Benton County hope to complete the change in October. It doesn’t affect many people, but it shows how local governments can work together to overcome jurisdictional and legal complications so that people — in this case rural water customers — are not left high and dry. (hh)