Lacey City Council plans for city to pay for much of septic-to-sewer conversion for Tolmie Park Estates

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The Lacey City Council agreed to move forward with its plan to cover much of the cost of a septic-to-sewer conversion program for Tolmie Park Estates following possible concerns of water contamination. 

In a City Council work session on Thursday, July 8, Public Works Director Scott Egger claimed that Tolmie’s failing community septic system may possibly contaminate the city’s surface water. The conversion is necessary since the neighborhood is located near the headwaters of Eagle Creek which then moves along Woodland Creek and eventually to Puget Sound.

Egger shared that it is necessary for the city council to act immediately before the Department of Health moves to condemn the community septic system. He noted that even the neighborhood’s own engineer believes that the community’s wastewater system may not last for another two years.

“It's gonna be hard to keep it limping along,” Egger said. He noted that because of its condition, the city needs to build an entire new system for Tolmie Park Estates  

To cover the cost, Egger suggested two options. One is for the city to pay the entire cost of construction. Overall, the entire conversion project for the Tolmie Park Estates amount to an nearly $3 million for 54 parcels, with each connection costing $54,714. This means that under a 20-year financing program, the property owners would have to pay around $307 per month.

Egger shared that the second option is for the city to cover the cost for the right of way, while the rest of the construction cost will be paid by the property owners through a Utility Local Improvement District (ULID). He explained that forming a ULID would require the approval of at least 50 percent of the homeowners.

In a consensus, the city council agrees to move forward with the city to paying for the right of way and the homeowners shouldering the remaining costs. With this, the city is willing to provide nearly to $2 million of funding, which will cut the cost for each parcel from $54,714 to $19,605.

In addition, Lacey Mayor Andy Ryder also suggested to require homeowners to pay approximately $110 per month for the first seven years’ and cover the remaining 13 years using funds from Lacey’s Capital City Project, which provides funding for the city’s entire septic to sewer conversion program starting in the year 2030.

“Let’s go forward with the two million dollars now, and then tell them they will be first in line in 2030 and they will get the rest paid off,” Lacey Mayor Andy Ryder said. 

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