Index’s water tempts Sultan wine maker

Herald staff

INDEX — It’s a place that’s known for having good water. But now the water may make the town a little bit of money.

Index Mayor Ken Hunter is negotiating a contract with the Sky River Mead Co. in Sultan for the purchase of 1,000 gallons of water a month.

"Our water is considered to be just like mountain spring water," Hunter said. "It’s piped right out of a granite wall under pressure, like an artesian well.

"It tastes wonderful."

The company contacted Index wanting to buy water to use in its production process for making honey wine.

Sky River Mead company spokeswoman Denise Ingalls confirmed that negotiations are under way.

"A lot of us who work out here know that the water in Index is really good," she said. "We decided to explore the possibilities."

Hunter said the town has considered selling its water before, even discussing bottling it to make money for the town. He said the town thinks trying out a small contract with Sky River on a trial basis would give the town some extra income.

Index is one of only a few places in the state that has such high-quality water that it doesn’t have to treat it with chemicals, Hunter said.

Hunter said the contract and the cost are still under negotiation. Any income will be added to the town’s general revenues.

A formal contract is expected to be before the town council in February.

He said the contract will include information that it can be interrupted at any point that the town needs its own water to service residents.

Hunter said the town is also looking into another contract.

He said the town has a contract with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad for shared maintenance of the town’s only railroad crossing at Index Avenue and Fourth Street.

Under the contract, the town has to pay 75 percent of the maintenance and replacement costs at the intersection. But Hunter said the town council has asked him to file an inquiry into what costs the city should pay.

Hunter said maintenance of the railroad crossing involves federal dollars, and he thinks there should be clarity to who pays what.

He said the town council is concerned because the city has $1,200 in bills from Burlington Northern Santa Fe for repair of damages at the intersection. While that is something the city can pay, Hunter said he doesn’t want to set a precedent and end up with major bills later.

He said the city is being billed at a cost of $101 an hour for signal maintenance work.

Hunter is hoping to get local congressional representatives to help the town determine how the intersection’s maintenance should be paid. He hopes to have a report back for the council next month.

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