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Public Utility District No.1 of Skagit County Strategic Plan 2018-2022

LETTER FROM SKAGIT PUD’S GENERAL MANAGER

Since 1936, Skagit PUD has committed to providing safe and reliable utility services to meet the current and future needs of Skagit County residents. As the largest water purveyor in Skagit County, we have a responsibility to serve our customers, but also to manage the water resources that have been placed in our trust. We strive to be a responsible steward of those resources by being a customer-focused, forward-looking, and fiscally responsible utility.

During the strategic planning process, we received a tremendous amount of valuable input from a broad range of people that helped determine plan objectives. Our local partners and employees were surveyed for their insights and a Strategic Planning Committee comprised of staff from all of our departments was created to help direct and guide the process.

Skagit PUD’s 5-year Strategic Plan establishes our strategic objectives in three main areas:

  1. Customer-Focused Services (Water, Telecom, Sewer).
  2. Communication with the Public and Partners.
  3. Internal Operations, Communication, and Organizational Development.

The focus of the Strategic Plan is on the short-term horizon to help guide decisions that will define our organization going forward. The challenges that we face in Skagit County are similar to many of the challenges facing Washington State and the nation. Water system planning, aging infrastructure, increasing rates, strong communications, and hiring and retaining a high quality workforce are many of the complex issues we will address during this planning horizon.

It is critical for our organization to have a clear vision of where we want to be and a commitment on how we intend to get there. The completion of this Strategic Plan is the first step in outlining our commitments, and developing an implementation plan to achieve our strategic objectives.

I want to recognize everyone who worked on this Strategic Plan and the collaborative approach that was used. On behalf of the Strategic Planning Committee, we extend our thanks to the partners and District staff that participated in pre-planning surveys. Our team is excited about the challenges and opportunities that will result from the Strategic Plan, and we are eager to realize the continuous quality improvements coming to Skagit PUD.

George Sidhu, P.E.

Overarching Guidance

Vision, Mission, and Core Values

Our Vision is to be an outstanding regional leader and innovative utility provider.

Our Mission is to provide our customers with high-quality water services at an affordable price.

As we pursue our Vision and advance our Mission, we demonstrate and maintain balance among our Core Values:

  • Quality. We seek to exceed customer expectations by providing exceptional service.
  • Environmental Stewardship. We act to preserve our region’s natural resources.
  • Financial Prudence. We strive to keep our rates as low as possible while making wise capital investments and strategic business decisions.

Summary of Goals

I. Customer-Focused Services

A. Water

Statement of Intent

Skagit PUD’s core focus is providing water to residential, business, and agricultural customers. We make strategic and sustainable investments to ensure our water rights, infrastructure, and other resources are managed for the benefit of our customers and for the long-term benefit of the region. The most significant contribution we can make to environmental sustainability is by improving the efficiency of our system and by encouraging smart water use among our customers. By making strategic investments to reduce wasted water, we will also diminish our need for finding additional water sources and for making large capital improvements in the future. The District will play a supportive role in addressing the legal availability of water for agriculture and rural land owners.

Goals

  1. Make prioritized and strategic capital infrastructure investments to maintain existing assets and quality to serve the growing Skagit community.
  2. Steward partnership-based efforts that advance the strategic regional use of water resources.

B. Telecommunications

Statement of Intent

Investment in telecommunications infrastructure is necessary to the security and effective management of Skagit PUD’s water systems. Skagit PUD is collaborating with the Port of Skagit County on the SkagitNet effort for development of telecommunications services to support the growth and prosperity of the Skagit County community. In these efforts, Skagit PUD will favor the development of wholesale capacity over becoming a retail provider.

Goals

  1. Invest in the telecommunications infrastructure necessary to securely and efficiently manage our water system and facilitate the extension of broadband infrastructure within Skagit County.
  2. Stay current and decide whether we should enter the telecom industry as a retail provider if public utility districts are given the authority to do so.

C. Sewer

Statement of Intent

While Skagit PUD has the legal authority to provide sewer services, we are not seeking to develop this service area. We would, however, be willing to meet regional needs if directed to do so by state and local agencies. We will more actively pursue opportunities to use sewage as a method of increasing water availability and reducing or deferring investment in our water system infrastructure through water reclamation and recycling.

Goals

  1. Explore and understand the connection between sewage and reclaimed water.

II. Communication with the Public and Partners

Statement of Intent

As a service provider and steward of public resources, it is incumbent on us to communicate effectively with our customers, members of the public, and partners.

Goals

  1. Strengthen communications and engagements with our customers.
  2. Seek opportunities to engage youth in water-related education.
  3. Ensure our policy-setting and decision-making processes are transparent and easily accessible.
  4. Strengthen our provision of high-quality customer service.
  5. Strengthen our relationships with our partners.

III. Internal Operations, Communication, and Organizational Development

Statement of Intent

To provide high-quality services for our customers, it is imperative that we have strong staff and supporting systems.

Goals

  1. Strengthen internal systems and the use of technology to create efficiencies.
  2. Address our aging District headquarters facility.
  3. Attract, retain, and develop a high-quality workforce.
  4. Improve internal communications throughout the organization.

IMPLEMENTATION FRAMEWORK

Skagit PUD will use this Strategic Plan to guide decision-making during the five-year period from 2018 to 2022. The direction established in this plan is at a high level and will be used to inform more detailed and actionable annual plans.

Using this Strategic Plan as a foundation, Skagit PUD will:

Establish annual implementation steps, timelines, and performance metrics or milestones to guide and monitor implementation of the Goals and Strategies established in the Strategic Plan.

Use the Strategic Plan to inform and frame:

  • Budget development.
  • Work unit work plans.
  • Meetings, including Commission meetings and all-staff meetings.
  • Communications with staff, customers, and partners.

Provide regular progress reports, including:

  • Quarterly staff progress reports to the General Manager.
  • Annual General Manager progress reports to the Commission.

For more information:

Visit the Skagit PUD website: http://www.skagitpud.org

Contact Community Relations Manager, Kevin Tate, by phone at (360) 424-7104.

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