A Tumwater city committee is working to oppose the annexation of 599 properties into the Hopkins Drainage Ditch District No. 2 with an ordinance aiming to prevent the action.
Further, Thurston County has scheduled a public hearing “regarding the suspension of the operations of the Hopkins Drainage District” on October 18.
Tumwater’s public works committee agreed at a meeting held yesterday, September 22, to schedule a public hearing as part of proposed Ordinance No. O2022-021, which would remove in advance the properties from the ditch district. Hopkins is expected to complete its annexation at its own meeting, tomorrow, September 24 through a resolution certifying that the 605 properties are under its tax roll for 2023.
Tumwater’s city council will get to discuss their ordinance on September 27 but will not be able to approve it until the public hearing, which is scheduled for October 4.
Hopkins is hoping to annex the properties to collect between $360,000 and $380,000 in taxes it proposes to use to improve the ditch so it can handle stormwater flow contributed by the mentioned properties, according to Ditch District Commissioner Mat Jackmond in a June 2 letter addressed to the affected property owners. An additional 10% of the initial amount will be levied annually for the maintenance of drainage facilities, according to Jackmond’s letter.
Hopkins held several public hearings about the annexation and received over 49 letters of objection, according to documents prepared by Tumwater staff for the public works committee meeting.
Though Hopkins is expected to push through the resolution this Saturday, Tumwater city attorney Karen Kirkpatrick said that the Hopkins district would have to convene again in October to develop and impose the statement. Kirkpatrick said this in response to Council member Michael Althauser who asked when the Hopkins district’s resolution would take effect.
Kirkpatrick added that they have alternative remedies depending on what happens on Saturday.
“Assuming that the district takes action on Saturday, one piece of the puzzle is that we have a 10-day appeal period to appeal the action of the district,” Kirkpatrick said, adding, “we also are contemplating some open government action as well because the district has failed to comply either with public records or open public meetings throughout this process
Tumwater Council Member Charlie Schneider, who lives within the affected area, added that Thurston County’s boundary review board might study the annexation.