CLE ELUM — Suncadia resort has made its water and sewer accounts current with the city of Cle Elum, and city staff have said the two entities plan to reprioritize a mediation process that Suncadia and the city began in 2009.
“I think we’ve reached a new understanding,” Cle Elum City Administrator Matt Morton said during a Cle Elum City Council meeting last week. Morton said he recently met with Suncadia officials.
“I think (Suncadia Managing Director Roger Beck) is taking this very seriously and has been a good partner so far,” Morton said.
At the beginning of February, Suncadia owed the city $61,550 in past due fees for use of its water and sewer infrastructure, city of Cle Elum Treasurer Sandy Sutton said. Suncadia paid the past due fees incrementally throughout the month of February.
The city sent Suncadia a letter on Feb. 8 stating it could shut off Suncadia’s water if the water and sewer accounts were not made current within 30 days.
Suncadia still owes a $9,000 payment from December on a bond to build a new fire station, and payments to help mitigate Suncadia’s impact on city staffing, Sutton said.
Beck confirmed that Suncadia owes a payment on the fire station bond, but declined to comment on issues surrounding the mediation. He said the resort hopes to make the bond payment as soon as possible.
The mediation between the city and Suncadia stems from a dispute over the terms of the city staffing payments included in the Bullfrog Urban Growth Area development agreement that both parties signed in 2001. The city has said Suncadia’s developers (Mountainstar, at the time of the agreement’s signing) agreed to pay the full cost for Cle Elum to keep a city administrator and a city planner on staff, according to a 2010 Daily Record story. Officials from Suncadia told the city in 2009 that they believe the agreement does not require Suncadia to pay the entire cost of the two positions and requested mediation, according to the story.
Sutton said Tuesday that the mediation process, which had been placed on the city’s back burner, will “move to the front burner.”
In January, Morton said Suncadia informed him Dec. 30 it would not be making payments mandated in the 2001 development agreement with the developers of Suncadia.
The announcement combined with the possibility of declining tax revenues caused the city to search for ways to trim $100,000 from its 2012 budget. Officials reduced the Carpenter Memorial Library’s operating hours, cut an officer at the Cle Elum-Roslyn-South Cle Elum Police Department and eliminated public works positions.
The city has frozen all but essential expenditures. Morton said last week the freeze will continue despite the recent payments from Suncadia. Morton said the city needs to see increases in revenue before it can restore funding to most of the areas hit by budget cuts, and would not be able to restore funding to most of those areas before June.