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Manchester council still hopes to create sewer ULID

Manc

“We have a lot of residents who’ve been waiting for sewer service for years,” said Ron Rada, chair of the Manchester Advisory Committee at a meeting Tuesday night. “The commissioners have the ability to set right what has gone wrong in this process.”

Rada, who successfully spearheaded the creation of Utility Local Improvement District (ULID) No. 8, began collecting signatures in support of ULID No. 9 last year.

In order to create a ULID, 51 percent of property owners by volume must approve the measure.

Rada said his group collected about 53 percent and then ceased its effort, as that’s all that was needed.

The initial hearing occurred Dec. 8, with the required public hearing taking place on June 29. Rada said that there was “no excuse for it to take that long.”

On Tuesday night the committee voted to prepare a letter to the commissioners, asking them to pass a resolution to create the ULID and pick up where it left off.

Without such a resolution, supporters would have to begin the petition process anew.

A resolution, if passed, would continue the process where a second public hearing is scheduled.

It would also allow opponents to defeat the measure by gathering petitions equal to 40 percent of property owners by volume.

Rada planned for a spirited debate, inviting newspaper reporters who do not always cover these meetings.

He also invited South Kitsap Commissioner Charlotte Garrido, who was put on the defensive about the board’s actions.

Garrido told the group that the project was, in fact, dead and would need to be restarted to get sewers in the area.

Rada, citing a state RCW, said that was not the case and that the commissioners could pass the resolution.

He requested that Garrido commit to the support of the resolution.

Garrido, who said she was not aware the commissioners could take such an action, declined.

“I did not know this was available to us,” she said. “I’ll need to do some research before I can commit one way or the other.”

Sewer supporter Orville Cox, who was sitting next to Garrido, asked her if she knew U.S. Sen. Patty Murray. When Garrido answered in the affirmative, Cox implored her to “call her up and get us some stimulus money. All we need is a lousy million bucks to develop the sewer, which is nothing to them.”

When Garrido said out that stimulus money had some specific requirements, Cox stood up angrily, as if to leave.

He then sat in the back of the room.

“I came here to help you understand the process,” Garrido said. “I can see how committed you are, but I don’t need to be attacked. There are a lot of forceful emotions in the room, and I am trying to help you find a place for them.”

Rada later said that he was not surprised Garrido was unaware of the resolution option.

“The Kitsap County Department of Public Works has done a terrible job of keeping the commissioners informed,” he said. “As a result, they have been blindsided by this.”

Rada encouraged those present to contact the commissioners in support of creating the ULID. Two commissioner votes are needed in order to pass the resolution.

The ULID was opposed by landowners who resisted having to pay up to $30,000 in mandatory fees.

Supporters of the ULID say that a failed septic system will cost more in the long run, both to the property owner and the environment.

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