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Sewer & Water Dist Latter April 25 2008
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Sacheen Lake
Sewer & Water District
P.O. Bow 463
Colbert,Wa 99005
509-447-4641
 
 

April 25,2008

Dear Neighbors,

Weleome back to all our winter returning snowbirds. We hope  everyone had a healthy winter and is ready to enjoy another Sacheen summer, if summer ever comes. It has been a long winter with over 10 feet of snow here!

Thanks go out to everyone who voted last fall for our maintenance and operation levy to continue the work being done within the District. The Board has been meeting twice a month working on issues here at Sacheen.

As we are a Sewer and Water District, we would like 10 bring everyone up to speed on the activities that have been going on toward sewering at Sacheen Lake. We realize that many of your know this history, but for those who have not been here as long, this may be helpful.

Back in 1994-1995 the District Board worked together with a group ofSenio! Engineering students from Gonzaga University to develop a Preliminary Engineering Report for constructing a sewer and water system around Sacheen Lake. Eric Eldenburg of Sewell Engineering acted as a professional liaison to the students. The project was quite comprehensive and thorough. When this report was completed, the information was presented at our general summer lake meeting in 1995, and then also in smaller area or neighborhood meetings. After a summer of meetings and question and answer periods, a survey, or straw pon was sent out to all property mvners to determine if there was enough interest to begin a process of constructing a system. At that time it was deteiminedthat there was not enough support to continue. It was suggested that if there was enough intere-st in any certain area that those property owners get together and consider developing a cluster system.

In the fall of 2003, such a group of property owners got together and came to the Board to request that the District develop a cluster sewer system to serve the Terrace area. To show their commitment, forty-three property owners gave $100 to assist in funding the steps that could possibly lea4 to a system for them. After many letters and meetings on this possible project and the consideration of forming a Local Improvement District, (LID), the Sewer District with the help of our District Attorney Mike Ormsby formed the Terrace Local Improvement District. With the formation of an LID the District could apply for loan money to begin the process. At this point we applied for a preconstruction loan from the Public Works Trust Fund to develop a Facility Pian for the Terrace and to


Purchase a 10 acre parcel of property across Highway 211 from the Terrace to serve as the drainfield.

But the Board realized that without a Comprehensive Sewer Plan for the District, we

were prohibited by law from purchasing any property, so as part of the contract with Sewell Engineering for the Facility Plan, the Board also requested the development of a Comprehensive Plan for the whole District. A Comprehensive Plan would be needed for any duster or system that would be developed by the District. A Comprehensive Plan is designed to look at long term development and is considered a twenty-year-plan. The cost for this additional work would be come from the District's Capital Project Account.

As work began on the Comprehensive/Facility Plan, the Board ",,"as visited by representatives from other areas of the Lake requesting that their areas be considered for the next cluster projects. Property owners from Kohles Beach on one end of Fertile Valley, as well as from the west end of the Lake came to the Board looking for help. With support that came out at last summer's general meeting the board sent letters of interest to property owners in the East Shore area and the response indicated that many of them showed a defInite interest in being served by some sort of sewer.

During this time it was determined that, due to covenant restrictions, the 10 acre parcel that we"were considering buying would not be suitable for a drainfield to serve the Terrace so we began looking for property again. As many of you know, this area does not have the best conditions for drainage and septic purposes. Many trips to the Assessors office, calls to local realtors, and calls and letters to nearby landowners were made.

Last summer, a 40 acre parcel of land was found south of the Lake on Highway 211 that looked promising. Even though we still did not have a Comprehensive Plan, and therefore could not purchase the property, the Board decided to proceed with test holes and a Hydrogeology Report. By doing this, it would help determine if this property could be used and what type of treatment system would be appropriate for t.lIis site. These pieces of information would also allow the engineers to determine how many homes this larger parcel of property could possibly serve. While awaiting the completion of the Comprehensive Plan, the property has changed hands. The new property owners are interested in selling the property to the District, as wen as an additional 20 acres that are adjacent and to the north thaf could possibly make this entire parcel of land (60 acres) suitable for providing treatment for a whole lake system.

At the beginning of April, the Comprehensive Plan was submitted to the Department of Ecology for Agency approval. They have sixty days to review the plan and return it to the District. Once the Pla.'1 is approved weare poised to proceed. So what is our next step? What began as a cluster drainfIeld for the Terrace area has become the possibility of a whole lake sewer system. Questions to be posed to District property owners are many. Should the District stick with a project that only serves the Terrace? Should the Terrace LID be expanded to include East Shore and Kohles Beach? Is it time to consider a whole lake sewer system? Should it be done in phases or all at once? Should the property be purchased for the possibility of serving the whole District at a later date? The Board is at the juncture to make a decision for the future of Sacheen Lake. Is it time to


go forward with a sewer system to serve all of the lake? The answers to these questions are not easy. The Board takes its responsibility to the District property owners very seriously and would like your input.

As we consider the possible options, the costs change accordingly. It has been suggested that in order to exhaust any possibility of getting grant funding for possible projects that we conduct an income survey for the District. Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) is a non-profit corporation funded with federal tax monies to assist small communities in fmding funding for projects. We realize that the District has already done two income surveys for the Terrace, but this non-profit corporation has a very good record of getting rural communities to qualify for assistance and hope that all residents will complete the survey. The last time the Terrace information was tabulated, they missed the threshold by only a few hundred dollars. These income surveys would be developed by RCAC and sent out by the District. They would be returned to, and tabulated by RCAC under strict confidence. When you receive a survey form, please complete it and return as directed. With so few grants being available these days, this may be the only way we can qualify for grant funding.

In order for everyone to have the opportunity to ask questions of the Board, Engineers, and Attorney, we will have many informational meetings. The first meeting is ulanned for Saturday. Mav 24 at 10:00 am at the Sacheen Fire Station. Please mark your calendar and plan to attend. There will be a lot of information disseminated and the best way to become informed is for everyone to attend. Your input is very important to the Board. If you disagree with the direction the Board is taking, let them know. In the mean time, you are encouraged to attend the Board's regular meetings held at the Sacheen Fire Station at 7:00 pm on the first Thursday of the month and 4:00 pm on the tpJrd Thu.rsday of the month, We hope to see you at one of the upcoming meetings.

Sincerely,

Sacheen Lake Sewer & Water Board Board Members


Ron Schmidt                           Jan Anderson                        Jeff Storms
509-447-4618                         509-447-0934                        509-447-3706 

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