Oh, goodie! I'm so excited that the Creekside Golf Course water rate scandal, a.k.a IrriGate, is continuing on its special-interest-kiss-up backroom-dealmaking course.
This will give local political junkies like me even more raw material for snarkiness.
When politicians fail to realize their mistakes, doubling-down on a stupid decision, it's entertaining to watch how far down the Rabbit Hole they will go before thinking, "Oh, shit, we should have turned around before hitting the slimy bottom."
Here's a report I've gotten from a reliable source on today's Water-Wastewater Task Force meeting, the group that's been determined to foist a $600,000 water rate increase on other water users so the Creekside Golf Course can get a $60,000 annual water bill reduction that Mayor-elect Chuck Bennett somehow believes is crucial if the private golf course is going to survive.
The Task Force is not backing down on the 30% reduction in rates for “irrigators.” It is going to be worked into the overall rate increase proposal that goes before the Council at a public hearing still scheduled for October 10th [Note: my source had September 10, but that's a Saturday, and previously the word was that the City Council would discuss and vote on this at their October 10 meeting]. Chuck Bennett did ask that the proposal for the Council be provided with and without the 30% reduction for irrigators.
Bennett really got worked up at the end of the meeting about what he sees as unfair criticisms of this. Bennett is now framing it as a flood control issue — Creekside needs the water rate reduction so the golf course remains as a basin for rainwater.
Hopefully the Council is allowed to vote on the 30% reduction issue separately from the rest. Councilor Brad Nanke is already a “no” vote. Councilors McCoid and Bednarz both have actual conflicts of interest and should not vote (McCoid because he is a Creekside homeowner and golf club member, and Bednarz because he is an “irrigator”).
Bennett recused himself from the August 11th vote so you would expect he would do that again (based on the fact that he works for the school administrators association that gets a lot of its revenue from the Salem-Keizer School District, a major irrigator).
That only leaves five. If Councilors Andersen and Dickey vote “no” along with Nanke it will be a 3-3 tie and the motion will fail. That would be interesting.
Here's my previous posts on IrriGate: