New voices needed on sewer board | LETTER TO THE EDITOR
July 11, 2011 · 8:25 AM
To the editor:
The Freeland Water and Sewer District (FWSD) has undertaken since 2006 to bring sewers to Freeland at the request of the Freeland Chamber of Commerce.
The original five-phase plan started with sewers in the commercial core. The plan was changed in 2010 to a two-phase plan to bring in a large residential component.
This change brings a severe financial burden to residents while spreading the total cost over more properties. In effect, the residential owners subsidize commercial development.
The FWSD is pursuing a $40 million sewer project based on projected population growth of 8.9 percent despite the facts that: a) real growth in Freeland is 1.3 percent; b) there is no proof of failing septic systems; and c) a special benefits report fell 50 percent short of justifying the cost.
The FWSD spent nearly $2.5 million of Island County taxpayer money for a preliminary engineering report filled with erroneous statements about what is causing the contamination in Holmes Harbor, for salaries of consultants to design the $40 million sewer, for unsupported population projections and understated financial impacts on the residents and business owners of Freeland.
Land has been purchased for treated water disposal that is insufficient for the purpose. More land will be needed and there is no estimate of the cost.
Public money has been spent without the concurrence of the Island County Council of Governments which granted the money.
There does not seem to be sufficient oversight or accountability of how public money is spent. The Island County commissioners do not take action on our pleas to make the FWSD stop the excessive spending for an unsupported sewer project.
The FWSD commissioners have approved a Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) to assist in defining alternate affordable solutions that won’t price people out of their homes.
There is no commitment to following the recommendations of the CAC. Time will tell if the FWSD commissioners are going to listen to the public.
If you are a Freeland resident, we need your vote in November. New voices are needed on the district’s board of commissioners.