On March 17, 2020, West Richland City Council voted unanimously to approve a proclamation declaring an emergency due to the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Through that action, the city initiated West Richland’s Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP)—shifting the city’s focus to performing mission-essential functions.

Governor Inslee issued the Stay Home Stay Healthy proclamation for the state on March 23. It’s effective immediately, and in our resource list below, we’ve shared the link to the proclamation and the list of essential critical infrastructure workers.

We’ve provided details by department for your use, resources to assist our community members during this time, and frequently asked questions. As you are all experiencing, information is changing almost daily, and we will continue to update this page with answers to your questions and additional resources as they become available.

Currently, all City of West Richland offices are closed to the public. This includes:

  • Police Department Lobby
  • Municipal Services Facility
  • Senior Center
  • All boards and commissions meetings have been cancelled until further notice. The April 7th City Council meeting is cancelled.

While buildings are closed to the public, please remember that city staff continue to provide essential services.

UPDATE – Thursday, March 26

Last night, the Governor clarified the Stay Home Stay Healthy proclamation. As a result, Mayor Gerry signed Action Item #9 of West Richland’s Continuity of Operations Plan. It states:

All employees, except those that are crucial to basic city emergency services or emergency operations management will be sent home and not allowed to return to work until directed by the Mayor or his designee. Their time will be charged to paid Administrative Leave.

Our team edited the information by department below to help you understand how that impacts a service you may need. Specifically, you must email our staff with questions because we will not have staff in the city facilities to answer phone calls.

Departments:

City Water Supply

The City’s water supply continues to be monitored and tested and is safe to drink. 

COVID-19 Update – Vacant or lightly used buildings should flush water system prior to vacancy.

Utility Payments

Utility payments may not be made in person. Payments may be submitted:

For more detailed information and instructions for utility account set up and disconnection go to www.westrichland.org/utilities or email us at utilities@westrichland.org.

Business customers – please see the FAQ section below explaining how to apply to temporarily terminate water, sewer and garbage service during this temporary closure issued by the state of Washington. 

Garbage Service

Garbage Service is provided through Ed’s Disposal. Their Pasco and Walla Walla offices are closed to walk-in customers until further notice. Solid waste collection and removal routes will run as normal without interruption. However, contingency plans are in place to respond to service, if necessary. For more information go to www.basindisposal.com.

Parks & Recreation

Parks will remain open. It’s a great place to take a walk or enjoy the outdoors during this time. However, please remember that while using the parks and trails for walking, hiking, running or biking appropriate social distancing practices must be used. 

Police Department

The West Richland Police Department’s lobby will reopen on Monday, June 1st. Please click this link for details and restrictions.

Community Development Services

In response to the Governor’s Construction Guidance – Stay Home, Stay Healthy Proclamation (20-25), building permit inspections of non-essential commercial and residential construction will cease until the order is lifted. New building permit applications may still be submitted on-line but, will not be processed until the order is lifted.

Phone messages left will be checked intermittently and responded to after the offices open and the order has been lifted.  If this is a building emergency, please email tblevins@westrichland.org.  For general planning questions please email planner@westrichland.org. For general building questions, email tblevins@westrichland.org.  We will try to respond to your questions in a timely manner, but we may not be able to get to them until after the order is lifted.

Public Works

In response to the Governor’s Construction Guidance – Stay Home, Stay Healthy Proclamation (20-25), construction inspection of non-essential projects including private development projects will cease until the order is lifted.

The City’s Bombing Range Road Bridge Rehabilitation Project and Well #2 Project have been deemed critical or strategic infrastructure projects and as such construction of these project will continue.

Civil plan reviews and street cut permit applications can be submitted electronically, but will not be processed until the order is lifted. Applicant should email public.works@westrichland.org for instructions on submitting plans for review. All communications/meeting with Public Works will be performed via email, telephone, teleconferencing and/or video conferencing. Email shall be sent to public.works@westrichland.org.  We will try to respond to your questions in a timely manner, but we may not be able to get to them until after the order is lifted. 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

Why are the school zone lights flashing?
The City of West Richland coordinated with the Richland School District to have all school flashing lights on from 10:15am -12:45pm during the meal pick-up time for students.
Meal pick-up will be available Monday through Friday at Enterprise, Wiley, Libby and Tapteal (the new elementary school located on Sunshine).

Is the Earth Day event cancelled?
Yes. We look forward to seeing you at the event in 2021!

Will I be charged a late fee for a late utility payment or if I can’t make the payment will my water be shut off?
The short answer is no, but please read the details below for March and April billing.

Late Utility Payments
City of West Richland utility billing staff will prepare late notices for those customers that did not meet the March 25th payment deadline. The $20 past due fee normally associated with the past due notice will be waived for all customers. By sending the notice, it will alert customers the City did not receive a payment and give them the opportunity contact the City office and correct any payments that may have been misapplied.

Low Income Senior/Disable Discount
West Richland Municipal Code 1.20.010 states low-income senior citizens and low-income permanently disabled citizens must renew their applications annually by April 15th for continued discount. This deadline is being extended for year 2020 to July 15th.

Promissory & Payment Plan OptionsFor the months of March and April, utility customers can enter into a promissory plan or payment plan and admin fees and interest fees will be waived. The City has a limit of 2 promissory agreements per year, if a customer enters into an agreement during the months of March and/or April, these promissory agreements will not count as one of the allowed within the calendar year.

Water Shut-offs for non-payment
No water shut-offs will occur for non-payment for the month of April 2020.

Foreclosure on property for utility debt
The City will not pursue foreclosure of a property for unpaid utility debt until after June 30, 2020.

Commercial Utility Customers – Temporary Discontinue Services

Businesses that are temporarily closed due to COVID-19 can submit a temporary discontinue service application to stop services for Water, Sewer, and Garbage services. Normally, a $15 or $40 dollar fee for both the disconnect and then the reconnect are charged for the service during normal business hours. These disconnect and reconnect fees will be waived for commercial customers temporarily closing their business due to COVID-19. If the customer is requesting an afterhours disconnect, the fee will not be waived under this revision. Forms are available at https://www.westrichland.org/download/forms/Temporary-Disc-Restart-Service_3.pdf and can be returned to utilities@westrichland.org or dropped off in the nightdrop box located outside the Municipal Services Facility.

Note: Customers must have water disconnected in order to disconnect sewer and garbage services. If the customer is not supplied by the City water service, a temporary disconnect would not be applicable.

Do I need to complete backflow testing for my home or business?

Yes, both residents and businesses should continue to contact backflow assembly testers and companies to complete backflow assembly testing. The State Department of Health’s Office of Drinking Water included backflow assembly testers under the List of Essential Functions.

If you are experiencing financial struggle or your business is closed under the Governor’s Stay Home Stay Healthy order, please email Brandon Dawkins–the City’s Cross Connection Specialist–at bdawkins@westrichland.org. You may request a 60-day extension to the backflow test due date.

Questions may also be directed to Brandon Dawkins via the email above. Please remember to include your name or business name, address, and a current phone number with each request.

Will I be pulled over by police officers asking where I’m going? Do I need to show that I’m on my way to work as an essential employee?
Chief Majetich shared this with our community to help dispel rumors. Law enforcement’s primary role is to help educate people about how to comply with orders to stay at home. We are not being asked to detain, arrest, ticket or establish checkpoints for compliance. Rumors of strict law enforcement or “martial law” are not true. Here are communication messages that may help you answer questions from your communities:

  • We view our role more as one of education. Educating residents on how to keep themselves safe, how to keep their families safe and most importantly, to keep the rest of the community safe, especially our vulnerable populations.
  • We understand some people need to carry out essential services such as:
  1. Safety and security
  2. Food, water, shelter
  3. Health and medical
  4. Energy (power and fuel)
  5. Communications
  6. Transportation
  • Our communities have shown they understand the severity of the situation and are doing all they can already to keep themselves, their families and neighbors safe and healthy.
  • When officers and deputies encounter people not complying with an order, we will remind them, as appropriate, of the recommendation and restrictions.
  • No law enforcement agencies have any desire to make any arrests or take anybody to jail for violations.
  • Rumors of individuals or businesses needing “passes” or “licenses” to conduct essential services are not true. 

When will irrigation water be available?
The City is tentatively scheduled to turn on the City operated irrigation system for the Luanne Estates, Brotherhood, and Flat Top locations Wednesday, April 8, 2020. For more information and updates, please click here.

Resources

For Business

For Employees

 For Parents

 Opportunities to help the community

 For Health

Stay Home Stay Safe Proclamation: