Public hearing set for Tanglewilde sewer project

Lacey City Council will seek input Thursday on a proposed $2.5 million sewer project for a neighborhood in Tanglewilde.

The public hearing is set for 7 p.m. at Lacey City Hall, 420 College St. S.E.

Under consideration is Tanglewilde East Utility Local Improvement District 24, which, if approved by the council, would set in motion a plan to connect single-family residences, duplexes, fourplexes and apartments to sewer service in Tanglewilde East Division 3B.

The neighborhood is within Alki Street Northeast to the west and Meridian Road Northeast to the east, and contains what the city calls about 160 equivalent residential units.

Property owners in the area currently are served by an aging septic system that flows into a drainage field, city water resources manager Peter Brooks said.

If the ULID is approved by the council, it will be followed by a 30-day comment period, followed by putting the project out to bid before hiring a contractor to complete the work next summer, Brooks said.

The city expects to fund the project with bonds and then be repaid through property owner assessments, either by lump sum or by making payments at interest over time, city finance director Troy Woo said.

Interest rates would be based on the interest rates set for the bonds, he said.

The initial estimate for the lump sum payment was about $15,000 per single-family residential connection, but the Tanglewilde East Sewer Association has $700,000 in cash reserves to apply to the project, which lowers the cost of the lump sum payment to about $11,000, Brooks said.

Another way to think about the lump sum payment: a single-family residential connection would pay about $11,000, but it goes up from there for the owner of a duplex, for example, because it has more sewer connections, Brooks said.

This is not the first time that the city has taken a run at extending sewer service to that neighborhood.

Last fall the city was set to approve ULID 22, Brooks said, but that project included property owners along Skokomish Way Northeast who balked at the cost. The ULID 24 project has been redrawn to exclude those property owners, although they could voluntarily connect to the sewer at a later date at their own cost, Brooks said.

The operator of the onsite septic system has known for a few years that it was time to connect to sewer, which led to a sewer association petition in the neighborhood, showing 64.7 percent support for the project.

If approved by the council, and once the work is complete and all costs are in, Lacey City Council will hold a second public hearing to gather input on the final assessment that property owners will pay. That hearing likely would be in fall 2015.