Langley hears little about sewer loan idea

Plans to extend the city of Langley's sewer system just won't go away.

Even though a public sewer extension issue fizzled away last summer, the Langley City Council is preparing an ordinance in the event that a sewer extension might happen in the future. If passed, the ordinance would give incentives to low- to moderate-income residents for the conversion from septic systems to public sewers.

Since the measure received its first reading in January, council members have been carefully examining every the nine-page ordinance. They had hoped residents who would be affected by a future sewer extension would attend Wednesday's meeting. But only two city residents showed up to raise questions regarding the the ordinance's proposed sewer connection incentive fund.

One of the many reasons last summer's issue failed was because residents opposed paying their "fair share" of the extension. Most residents in the extension's proposed area have working septic systems.

The new ordinance would set aside city money for a revolving sewer loan fund that would allow low- to moderate-income city residents borrow money to install sewer service if required to do so.

Council member Neil Colburn said at the meeting city residents shouldn't be able to use that excuse. Colburn said he once observed a Langley yard with sewage floating in it. The concept of a "working" septic system needs to be further defined, he said.

Council member Bettina Fisher said she was uncomfortable with requirements in the ordinance that could be set on a homeowners who wanted to rent their homes out for an extended period of time. Mayor Lloyd Furman explained to Fisher that renting out a residence would change the income of the loan applicant. Low-to moderate-income applicants would probably see their eligibility for loans change in this situation.

The council will likely vote on the ordinance at its Feb. 19 meeting.

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