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Shelton Mason County Journal
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December 18, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
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December 18, 2014
 

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sewer in Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014 - Mason County Journal - Page A-5 By NATALIE JOHNSON natalie@masoncoun com Mason County Commissioner Randy Neatherlin presented a plan Monday that he said will solve the Belfair sewer system's financial woes. "It is a little complicated," Neather- lin said. "Everything has been proofed, proven." The cornerstone of Neatherlin's pro- posal is the creation of a Utility Local Improvement District (ULID), which would include all properties in the Bel- fair Urban Growth Area (UGA). Commissioners Terry Jeffreys and Tim Sheldon asked Neatherlin to cre- ate a summary of his proposal to ac- company a complicated spreadsheet he presented Monday. "You can sell it all you want, what we need is the details," Jeffreys said. The next day, Jeffreys said Neather- lin's plan was "extremely creative." ULIDs can be approved through a popular vote or an advisory vote of the commission. Neatherlin recommended that the commission have an advisory vote. If passed, property owners in the ULID would pay $195 per parcel, per year, for 10 years. In turn, sewer rates could stay at $99 for 10 years, Neatherlin said. The commission spent about an hour during briefing sessions Monday morning sifting the spreadsheet Neat- herlin presented to illustrate his pro- posal. Commissioners Jeffreys and Shel- don said they were concerned about assumptions made in the plan, such as the area's growth rate, the number of new sewer hookups in the next decade and the rate at which residents would repay county loans granted to help them pay for sewer improvements to Mason County Commissioner Randy that he says will keep rates low while Journal photo by Natalie Johnson Neatherlin presented a plan Monday paying off debt for the Belfair sewer. ance the Belfair sewer-system budget "As it stands, we had a finding last year because we didn't have a plan ... we're about to have a finding this year," he said. "The other option is we do noth- ing and continue to run backwards." Jeffreys asked Neatherlin to be pa- tient with her questions. "I want to be careful about the as- sumptions," she said. "So please don't be offended by my questions." Neatherlin's plan would also involve the county borrowing money from its investments in the form of a $5.4 mil- lion, 20-year bond. The county would pay itself 1.5 percent interest. Mason County Auditor Lisa Frazier said the county has about $7 million in investments. "This would replace every other long-term investment," she said. The bond is intended to pay for a $2 million settlement with one of the sewers contractors, and $1 million in additional construction costs, Neather- lin said. The Belfair sewer advisory commit- tee plans to review Neatherlin's plan at its next meeting at 6 tonight at the Port of Allyn at 18560 E. state Route 3 their properties. Boad Road in Belfair. The charge was Sheldon also questioned that time-$3,000 in 2012 and has since accrued line, noting that the county would need interest. Neatherlin said he owes close to secure permits and apply for the to $10,000 now. inAllyn. ......... : : ~,~'.:: grants to install the sewer line. Neatherlin has said that he has not Committee/ membor:~ Jack t Johnson "That sounds to me to be very opti- paid the charge because he wanted to said the ~ttee had not previously mistic," Sheldon said. retain standing to potent4ally sue the reviewed Neatherlin's plan. The plan supposes that a sewer county, citing the financial problems Earlier thisyear, the committee sub- would serve the entire UGA in two with the sewer, mitted a list of 20 recommendations for years and state grants not yet secured He also said county staff trespassed the future of the Belfair sewer to the by the county would fund it. on his property when they installed County Commission. "This is a lot to hang on without hav- sewer connections. "Now we're working on priori~ng ing some sort of a guarantee," Jeffreys "As soon as this is done, I'm going in them. Some of~,o~:i~mmend~ol~ said. and paying it off," Neatherlin said. are inc~di i'~:~l~di~-~Jb~+,~duq:h Neatherlin asked the commission toNeatherlin's connection chairge will ~:%Ve haven't~wo~h~d