The Mason County Commission was briefed Wednesday morning on the future growth of the Belfair Sewer System. This was the fourth briefing on the financial issues of the County-owned sewer plant as officials get closer to solutions. During the briefing, the commissioners reviewed information drafted by David Windom, Director of Community Services; Jerry Hauth, Director of Public Works; and Frank Pinter, Director of Support Services. The Directors are looking at ways to increase revenues, expand the service area and reduce operating and maintenance expenses.
The Mason County Commission is looking at several options to refinance the debt for the Belfair Sewer System. During a briefing Monday, Frank Pinter, Director of Support Services for the County, summarized six possible scenarios for restructuring some $32 Million in bonds and loans.
All scenarios would result in additional cost to the County over time but provide savings in the short term making the system more solvent. The scenarios range from a high in savings of $400,000 a year while costing $5 Million to a low in saving of $265,000 a year while costing $2.46 Million.
The Mason County Commission was presented with the latest proposals for the Belfair Sewer Monday morning. During the briefing, the County’s Director of Support Services, Frank Pinter, ran through the process for formulating the development of a financial plan for the wastewater system. During his presentation, Pinter summarized the problem and presented possible solutions which included reviewing the monthly charge per ERU (Equivalent Residential Unit), offering “enticing lower” Capital Facility Charge (CFC), reviewing the validity of an ERU equaling 155 gallons of water per day, expanding the system, and restructuring debt.
Possible system expansion via Roy Boad Road to the Puget Sound Industrial Center (formerly called SKIA), connecting properites on the North Shore and the South Shore through LAMBRID, providing sewer to Sand Hill Elementary School, North Mason School District Campus, Mission Creek Corrections Center for Women, and Belfair State Park.
The Mason County Commission held another briefing on the Belfair Sewer Finance Plan. Staff from the State Department of Ecology attended the briefing. During the meeting, the Commissioners asked Ecology several questions relating to possible refinancing the system’s debt and whether septic systems could still be allowed in an Urban Growth Area.
Ecology said refinancing is a possibility but through the USDA and the Department of Commerce would likely have the answer for the septic system question.
The suggestion to meet with those entities and other funding agency was also made.
The Mason County Commission held briefing on the Belfair Sewer Financial plan Tuesday. You can watch the presentation here. Some of the options discussed during the briefing included different routes for expanding the system in the Belfair Urban Growth Area and connecting to the South Kitsap Industrial Area to the system.
The Commission will meet with the State Department of Ecology on Monday to further discuss the options for the Belfair Sewer System. Another briefing will also be held during the week of March 20th.
Mason County held a public meeting Tuesday on phase two of the Belfair Sewer System. The purpose of the meeting was to take public comment on the County’s application to the State Department of Ecology for funding to design extending the sewer collection system out Old Belfair Highway. This proposed phase would including properties in the Belfair Urban Growth Area (UGA) north of the existing sewer system and west of the railroad tracks, eliminating more than 170 septic systems.
After brief presentations by Bart Stepp, Deputy Director/Utilities
and Waste Management for the County, Greg Zentner from the Department of Ecology, and Dave Windom, Community Development Director for the County, the majority of those to speak voiced their opposition to applying for the grant funding and asked the County to withdraw the applications or asked Ecology to deny the application. The meeting did get a little heated at times.
The Mason County Commission approved a resolution providing for the issuance and sale of revenue bond for the Belfair Wastewater and Water Reclamation System. Frank Pinter, Budget Manager for the County, has the details:
Tuesday, the Mason County Commission approved a settlement with Boss Construction over the cost of constructing a portion of the Belfair Wastewater Reclamation Facility. Brian Matthews, Director of Public Works for the County, explains:
The Mason County Commission voted 2 to 1 Tuesday to send two Belfair Sewer draft financial plans to the State Auditor for review. The past few audits of the County have resulted in a “finding” from the State Auditor’s Office relating to the finances of the wastewater system. According to auditors, the system is not generating enough revenue to repay the $13.6 Million debt issued to finance its construction and the Commissioners had not established a formal plan to address how to repay that debt. The County has drafted two plans.
Belfair Sewer was discussed Monday night at the North Mason Community Voice meeting. The discussion primarily focused on the system’s debt and funding operations, and the possibility of expanding the system to serve the South Kitsap Industrial Area (SKIA) just across the county line, north of Belfair. Members of the Belfair Sewer Advisory Committee were in attendance to explain what they are doing to help solve the financial issues that go along with a system most believe is too big.