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Freeland sewer officials consider rewriting agreement with county

FREELAND — Officials with the Freeland Water and Sewer District said they are working resolve the problems that led to a recent audit from the state Auditor’s Office that called into question the district’s expenditures on its $40 million sewer project.

The report criticized the district’s purchase of airline tickets and other costs from a lobbying trip to Washington, D.C., as well as other expenditures paid for by a $2.5 million grant from Island County.

District Commissioner Rocky Knickerbocker said district officials wanted to rewrite the contract that covers how the county funding can be spent.

“We’re working with the auditor right now,” Knickerbocker said at Monday’s board meeting. “We’re working with redoing the contract, as it were, so that it’s clear.”

“It wasn’t clear,” he added. “We felt we we’re doing the normal thing."

District residents have long raised concerns over how sewer officials have been spending the grant funds the sewer district received from the county. That criticism intensified in June after reports that sewer district commissioners and their guests spent thousands of dollars for $200-a-night hotel rooms, spendy dinners and alcohol during their visit to the nation’s capital.

Sewer district officials have submitted more than $1.7 million in bills to Island County for repayment of costs incurred on the new sewer project since 2009.

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