The little-known Hopkins Drainage Ditch District #2 in Thurston County is seeking up to $380,000 from the owners of homes in The Preserve at Tumwater Place.
A hearing that had been set for tomorrow, was canceled by the Ditch District Commissioners in the late afternoon today, according to Tumwater City Council Member Charlie Schneider, who is also a resident of The Preserve.
The Ditch District is seeking to get the neighbors to pay for water damages and infrastructure.
Basing their claim on an obscure state law from the Drainage District Revenue Act of 1961, the Hopkins Drainage Ditch District #2 in Thurston County also seeks to increasing the Tax and Levy Rate and, in effect, seeking to annex the community into their district to levy the fees on them via taxation.
Mat Jackmond, Chairperson for the Hopkins Drainage Ditch District #2 in Thurston County, stated in a letter to the community, “This effort seeks to collect between $360,000 and $380,000 initially to re-establish and improve the Ditch in order to allow the Ditch (especially the headwaters, from 93'd Ave SE to Tilley Road) to handle the added flow of stormwater being contributed to the Ditch District by the 460 Parcels within the City of Tumwater boundaries, and add those contiguous parcels between 93rd Ave SE and the actual first parcel that is currently on the Roles of the Ditch District. After this initial levy, a "Maintenance Amount" of 10% of the initial amount will be levied on an annual basis to assist in the Maintenance of the Drainage Facilities of the District.”
Homeowners association is opposed
The homeowner’s association is raising their objections to this action and encourages community members to be present. In a letter to the homeowners,
The Preserve’s HOA President Anna-Lisa Schorn said, “The District is relying on an old state law, RCW 85.32, for the authority to levy assessments against the Preserve and other newly developed properties. Under this law, properties can be added the District and assessed if they are connected to outlets through the District’s facilities and benefit from them. The District claims that improvements are needed totaling $380,000 for an “initial levy” and a 10% “Maintenance Amount” to maintain them thereafter. The District has not provided any information about how these amounts were calculated.”
With the district claiming that The Preserve and other new developments have contributed to recent flooding events and that the Preserve is benefiting from the District’s facilities, Schorn related in the letter. She goes on, “We do not believe the District has or can meet its burden of proof under the statute to add the Preserve properties as proposed.”
To Join in the Objections:
In the letter from Schorn, it states: “When the drainage district puts out its notice, as the District has done, any person having interest in any property against whom the district seeks to make a service/benefit change to may object in writing. The objection must be filed with the district board before the hearing and must clearly state the grounds for the objection. Importantly, any objections which are not made to the District are deemed to be waived. (See RCW 85.32.070)."
More details of the community objections listed by Schorn, “Written objections can also be brought to and submitted at the public hearing. If you submit individual objections, you are asked to also send an information copy to the HOA’s counsel, Heather Burgess, at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you did not receive an individual mailed notice, it would be helpful to share that information with the HOA’s counsel as well.”
Contact information for objections: Commissioners email@example.com
Hopkins Drainage Ditch District #2 in Thurston County, 10330 Tilley Road S., Olympia WA 98512
City of Tumwater also opposes
“Please note that the City of Tumwater is actively opposing the District’s attempt to annex the Preserve and other properties," Schorn said, adding, "the City’s legal team is working cooperatively with The Preserve’s counsel as part of that effort.”
“The District’s actions are not within the City’s jurisdiction, and so we would like to encourage Preserve owners to direct their comments, concerns, and records requests about the District’s actions to the District Commissioners,” Schorn added.
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