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January 30, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
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January 30, 2014

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Committee to present plan on troubled Belfair sewer By NATALIE JOHNSON natalie@masoncounty.com The Belfair Sewer Ad- visory Committee plans to present a set of recom- mendations titled Com- prehensive County-Wide Sewer Financial Plan, to the Mason County Board of Commissioners in the next three months, committee members an- nounced this week. Committee members met with members of the North Mason commtmity Monday night in Belfair at the North Mason Conmau- nity Voice meeting. They discussed the state of the Belfair sewer's finances, and the committee's ideas to stabilize those finances. "There's literally a monster up on the hill that is eating money every day -- we don't have enough to feed it," said committee member Bob Harris. "The only way to get out of this is to develop." According to the com- mittee, aspects of the countywide sewer plan could include creating a sewer district owned by Mason County, which would have five commis- Mudslinging While it's warm you can have that comforter, blanket, etc. cleaned with a two working day turnaround. Republican, Democratic, Independent etc. comforters are all the same price. . Russ Denney Serving Shelton and Mason County for 87 years Welcome Dr. Michael Henry Mason General Hospital is pleased to welcome Michael Henry, M.D., to their staff of physicians and surgeons. He joins the team of specialists at MGH Shelton Orthopedics, where excellent care is close to home. Dr. Henry obtained his medical degree from the University of British Columbia School of Medicine, Vancouver, B.C.,where he also did his post-graduate training in Orthopedics He has a Fellowship in Orthopedic Trauma from the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Scotland,s. ,,, andis board-eligible in orthopedic surgery. He complements the expert team at MGH Shelton Orthopedics with a specialty in trauma and fracture care. To make an appointment with Dr. Henry, call MGH Shelton _ OrthopediCS at (360) 427-0663 W Mason GeneralHospital Shelton Orthopedics (360) 427-0663 939 Mtn. View Dr., Ste. 130, Shelton, WA 98584 www.MasonGeneral.com T sioners and in- dude the North Bay and Rus- tlewood sewer systems. The sewer district would have a single monthly rate, connection charge, and codes and regulations. Other possible aspects of the plan include cre- ating a utility lo- cal improvement district, a sales tax increase for sewer and storm- water, using a line of credit to finance the sewer, redistributing the Ma- son County Public Works budget, and using real estate excise taxes, and rural county sales and use tax money to support the sewer and pay off debt. "It's not an easy task," committee member Judy Scott said. Jennifer Hines, vice chair of the Belfair Sew- er Advisory Committee, asked for public com- ments on ways to solve the sewes financial prob- lems. Moore Scott "There is no idea that is too far out there for us to consider at this point," she said. The commit- fee's next meet- ing is at 6 p.m., Feb. 6 at the Port of Allyn at 18560 E. state Route 3 in Allyn. The advisory committee can be contacted at belfairsewer advisory committee@ gmafl.com. In December, the Washington state Auditor's Office re- leased its accountability audit report for 2012 for Mason County, which found that the Belfair sewer fund's financial condition puts it at risk of not being able to meet its financial obligations. "The sewer is not gen- erating enough revenue to pay back the debt," the report stated. According to the report, the sewer fund will be short by between $500,000 and $1 million each year until the debt is paid off. The state auditor in- structed Mason County to create a formal financial plan to show how it plans to pay down its $14 million in debt on the Belfair sewer. Tom Moore, deputy director of Mason County utilities and waste man- agement, gave an update on the sewer at the meet- ing. He said the treatment plant processes between $50,000 and $70,000 gal- lons of waste each day. The county is using half of the plant, or two of four membrane filters, to pro- cess the waste. In 2013, the county made about $2 million in payments on its $14 mil- lion in debt on the sewer. Customers pay $96 per equivalent residential unit. North Mason residents and committee members at the meeting discussed the size of the sewer, which was built to serve the entire Belfair Urban Growth Area. "We were expecting some pretty large growth rates," he said. "Hindsight's 20/20 - I wish we would have made it smaller." Mason County Com- missioner Randy Neat- herlin attended Monday night's meeting and said the county should look into hooking up customers in Kitsap County in the South Kitsap Industrial Area (SKIA). The Mason County Commission has previously met with SKIA partners to discuss that. Joe Dacca, deputy dis- trict director for U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, said Kilm- er's office is working with Mason and Kitsap coun- ties on projects that could benefit both areas, such as the Belfair bypass, a state Route 3 bypass around Belfair, and the possibil- ity of south Kitsap hook- ups to the Belfair sewer. David Overton, a land- owner in the Belfair Ur- ban Growth Area and SKIA, said running a sew- er main up state Route 3 to South Kitsap might only be feasible for a large project, such as a new cor- rections center. He suggested inviting developers to Belfair to encourage growth. "It really does set the tone that your community is encouraging growth," he said. Irish tenor to p0000rmrm at Shelton concert event STAFF REPORT news@masoncounty.com founding member of at 7 p.m. Feb. 20 at the The Irish Tenors, will Performing Arts Cen- perform Broadway ter at Shelton High hits, opera favorites School. and classic Irish songs The concert is part Anthony Kearns, of the Mason County Community Concert Association's 2013-2014 season. Tickets are $30. Kearns achieved in- ternational celebrity status as a member of The Irish Tenors, ap- pearing in three PBS broadcasts in 1999, 2000 and 2001. While the trio con- tinues to tour annu- Kearns a 1 1 y, K e arns has met'with continued success as a recitalist, with symphony orches- tras and on the opera stage. Kearns has recorded nine albums with The Irish Tenors, His first solo project was re- leased in October 2013. The Mason County Community Concert As- sociation has brought performers to Shelton each year since 1949. For more informa- tion, go to mccca.com. 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