In the Flying L, it is universally accepted we do not want a Dollar General Store at our Entrance, including the PUD board.
Since I am the only one in the community who has actually spoken to the Dollar General people, I want to give our residents some facts to go along with the Hype and Emotions that are running rampant on Facebook. This is an effort to correct the half truths and explain our actions.
And again, if there is a way to stop them, ALL YOUR PUD board members want to be a part of it.
A little history - about 6 weeks ago I was approached about the posibility of selling water to a retail operation at our entrance. They would not tell me who until it was locked down. Once Dollar General signed the letter of commitment, I was informed. I first called Doug and then that night I told the POA at their meeting. As a board, we asked the POA Chair how we can help with his efforts to stop them and were told it was secret, they didn't want DG lobbyists involved. So the PUD board put it our agenda but POA chair left before the discussion so we voted to sell them water. The next day it was all over Facebook.
Why we voted to sell water - Dollar General has 29 billion in revenue and have run all their competitors out of business (I used to close stores and have closed many dollar stores but never a Dollar General) They are serious and know when they build a store, it will be successful. To speculate on abandoned buildings and increased crime is only stiring up emotions and baseless. During one of my conversations with them, I mentioned a negative community reaction. They said this happens sometimes but the only time it has an affect is if there is a zoning issue, the people unite and convence the politians to vote against a change in zoning. However, they know there are no zoning issues here. They are coming.
There is already a web page up to hire employees. It is set, they are coming.
Water sources for Dollar General -The PUD has been made out to be the reason they are coming. However, there is already a well on the property, they can drill a new well or in an extreme case can run it from the city. Or, they can buy it from us. Here is the logic of selling to them. I have seen two plot plans and if we do not sell them water, they will drill a new well. They already have the site picked out. I have spoken to the county septic inspector because they will have a septic system. I was hoping there was not enough room for both and he would kill it based on this. To use the old well, they have to be 150' from the drain field. Because of new technology, a new well would only have to be 50' from the drain field, making this the most desirable. So, they would be tapping into the same source of water we draw from and as a private well, they are not required to have regularly inspected backflow devices, increasing the posibility of contamination of our water supply. If we supply water, we would require the backflow and it would be inspected annually. Thus protecting our water supply.
The financial side of the equation - The PUD voted to charge Dollar General a $30,000 impact fee up front and they pay all expenses to run the line under Wharton Dock Rd to their location. Then we would charge a higher, commercial rate for usage. Based on estimated usage, revenue would be about $4000 a year. I think we would all agree, we would rather give up the money to not have them. However, here is how that money will be used, should it happen. The PUD has never had back up power and is the reason we have had interuptions in service. In fact it is a requirement of our permit that has never been fulfilled. We have now made a commitment on generators to be installed by the end of the year and there will be an $8 per connection increase in your bill starting January 1, 2022. If we get the $30,000 then the increase will not go into affect until 2023.
Again, I believe we would all pay the $8 a month not have to have a Dollar General at our doorstep,
but if they are coming anyway and they are going to use our water anyway,
why should we not benefit?
So, this is the reasoning behind our vote to sell water.
If there is a bigger plan to stop them we do not know about,
just tell us and we are 100% in support.
Steve Childers - Field and Office Administrator