The grass is always greener on the other side of the bill

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By Meg Olson

The Point Roberts water district has turned off the taps for irrigation water to the Point Roberts Golf and Country Club until the golf course pays its water bill from last summer.

“We’ve certainly given them plenty of opportunities,” said commissioner Scott Hackleman at the district’s June 9 meeting. “They can’t get water if they don’t pay.”

With this year’s unseasonably warm weather, the golf course is showing signs of strain. The irrigation account for the golf course hit $58,000 last September, and the district has sent late notices and letters warning they would move to placing a lien on the property, which they did with the county auditor in May.

“If they’re going for financing or somebody is buying in, this secures us in line,” said district manager Dan Bourks. “You can’t get the lien off the title until we’re paid.”

All of the other golf course water accounts are current.

Commissioners discussed the problem for several months before moving to place a lien on the golf course.

“Usually when I send him a letter he comes in and pays a little bit,” said district manager Dan Bourks at the district’s April meeting, in reference to golf course owner Kenji Nose. The balance currently owing is $54,000.

“He did this last year but not before,” Bourks said, leaving the previous year’s final irrigation bill hanging until the golf course needed to draw water again. Hackleman suggested they look at billing the golf course monthly for irrigation and making continued water delivery contingent on payment so the course doesn’t get behind.

Nose said he was transferring funds from an outside source and could pay the bill in the first week of July. He said he had used the water in the retention ponds, now virtually empty, to keep the greens verdant while other areas of the golf course went dormant.

“It will come back in the fall,” he said. “Once we pay off the debt we will buy water again.”

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