OCEAN PARK - North Beach Water's (NBW) proposal to create a public utility district so that customers will be able to elect leadership directly to manage and operate the company has received the necessary 300 signatures and could be on the ballot as early as next February.

NBW is responsible for supplying drinking water and for fire suppression to customers from 295th Street to Cranberry Road.

The original petition had the northern boundary as being Joe Johns Road; however that left a gap in water service between Surfside and their water system and NBW's coverage. A month will be set aside for hearings on the possibility of creating the public utility district for local control by customers of NBW following two weeks of advertising for the resolution.

Following the hearing period Pacific County commissioners will then inform the auditor as to whether the petition will be placed on the February 2008 ballot.

At present NBW is operated and managed by North Beach Public Development Authority and the NBPDA's leadership is appointed by Pacific County commissioners.

"Without the support of the county commissioners, the North Peninsula Improvement Association would not have been able to accomplish what we have in creating North Beach Water," Curt Stephens says. "However, only one of the three commissioners lives in the area served by water company and the NBPDA is vulnerable to future decisions by the commissioners. They have made it clear they do not want to get into the water business."

On the NBPDA board are R.D. Williams as president and Tom Downer, Brad Weatherby, Jim Hagen and Richard Schroeder.

Williams explains, "We have accomplished a great deal by obtaining and improving the water system and by having in place a way to finance the system. The final piece is to get the water company under the control of its users and that can be done by forming a public utility district."

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