Looking Back: Jan. 12, 1961
Looking Back: Irrigation officials try for moratorium
Joint Boards of the three Columbia Basin Irrigation Districts passed a resolution at their Pasco meeting last week asking for a moratorium on drainage charges by a proclamation from President-elect John F. Kennedy.
The move was an effort to obtain relief from 1961 drainage charges which average $2.30 an acre throughout the project.
The State Columbia Basin Commission meeting immediately after the joint boards session, agreed that two members of the commission would present the request to the new administration. In a move to keep commission members better informed about the Basin it was decided that John Richardson, commission secretary, would attend all joint board meetings in the future.
Earl Gregory, president of the Quincy board, informed Earl Coe, chairman of the commission, that the Quincy Board felt headquarters of the commission should be in the Basin rather than in Olympia. In the past, headquarters have been located at Wenatchee, Spokane, Chelan and Ephrata. Although the move was not discussed during the commission meeting, Coe did not encourage hopes for such a move when questioned later.
Coe said that the state attorney general has ruled that headquarters of state offices must be at Olympia, and that there was no provision in the pending budget for the added expense of such a move.
All negotiation for a new repayment contract have been suspended during the change of national administration. Gregory, who abstained from voting on the moratorium resolution, has stated that he is not opposed to a moratorium but believes the problem must be solved by a new contract. Other directors feel that a moratorium is necessary while a new contract is being agreed upon in order to save farmers the burden of paying unforeseen and prohibitive drainage fees.
Members of the Columbia Basin Commission who were present at the meeting included: Earl Coe, Chairman; John Richardson, Secretary; Earl Twilligear, Warden (East District); Melvin Stepon, Quincy (Quincy District); George Locke (South District); Commissioner Richard Hendrick of Omak and Commissioner Joseph Lux of Spokane.