Cascade Locks utility questions on ballot

Cascade Locks residents will decide the fates of two measures affecting local utility rates and procedures.

The first of the proposed measures (No: 14-49) would repeal a previously established water utility fee and establish a new electric utility fee — to fund emergency services.

According to the Hood River County ballot text this measure, if passed, would enact ordinance No. 416 in place of ordinance No. 374. Ordinance No. 374 imposes a fee on all City of Cascade Locks water service utility accounts to fund costs associated with fire prevention, EMS and fire suppression.

This new ordinance would remove the fee associated with water service accounts and place that fee on electric service accounts. Once enacted, the city council would be charged with setting and adjusting the fee rates by resolution. The sole use for the fee is limited to payment of costs associated with fire prevention, EMS and fire suppression.

n In the second measure under consideration, (No. 14-51), the city charter would be amended clarifying city council authority to set rates for city owned utilities.

The Cascade Locks city charter is the governing document for the city of Cascade Locks.

According to ballot text, this measure would revise section 32 (4) of the current home rule city charter that requires a majority vote of the city’s qualified electors voting in an election where at least 50 percent of the registered voters cast a ballot, or in a general election in an even numbered year for the city council to create or increase any tax, charge or fee.

The proposed revision would add the following language to the charter: “This provision shall not apply to utility rate setting for any city-owned utility. As used in this section, city-owned utility includes water, sewer, electric, cable and broadband/internet service.”

The proposed amendment would clarify that utility rate setting actions of council are administrative in nature and not properly subject to a vote of the city’s qualified electors.

According to Kim Kean, elections supervisor for Hood River County, Oct. 16 is the last day to register to vote. Forms are available at the county offices during regular business hours, or at the post office or library. Residents may also go online to complete their form at

Ballots will be mailed out Oct. 19 and need to be returned by 8 p.m. Nov. 6.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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