Residents of both The Preserve in Tumwater and Hopkins Drainage District gave opposing views on the direction stormwater flows between the two areas during a Tumwater city council meeting yesterday, October 4.
Residents of The Preserve claimed that stormwater does not flow from their neighborhood into Hopkins. “Our storm drain does not go towards Hopkins. It goes towards Deschutes,” said Tumwater resident Clark Wilcox.
Tumwater resident John Hayworth added, “It appears the water that may be on 93rd Street would actually have to be pumped uphill to get to the Hopkins Ditch District.”
Residents from the Hopkins District rejected these claims, with Hopkins resident Jerry Jacks saying that Tumwater should study the direction of stormwater. “Put sandbags on the road next year when it rains a lot to prevent the water from going across 93rd. Then there's no question whatsoever as to where the water flows because you can stop it from flowing into the ditch,” Jacks said.
During the city council meeting yesterday, Tumwater passed Ordinance No. 2022-021 to reverse the annexation.
According to the ordinance, Tumwater maintains its capacity to manage stormwater utility services for the properties in The Preserve, and that the Hopkins District failed to provide evidence that the district benefits the properties.
The Hopkins Drainage District annexed 599 properties in The Preserve after adopting a resolution to include the properties in their 2023 tax roll on September 24 to collect between $360,000 and $380,000 in taxes to handle stormwater contributed by The Preserve, according to Ditch District Commissioner Mat Jackmond in a June 2 letter addressed to the property owners.
The letter also stated that Hopkins plans to levy an additional 10% of the initial amount for the maintenance of drainage facilities.
Jackmond previously claimed at a January 18 city council meeting that a lake behind The Preserve and improved drainage under 93rd Avenue facilitated the flow of stormwater away from The Preserve into their district. Jackmond said that the additional flow led to the overflowing of Tilley Road in January 2022 for the first time since 1996.
Public comment was considered before the resolution was passed, with residents from The Preserve and Hopkins district giving their views on the annexation. The direction of stormwater was the main talking point, with residents giving their opposing views.
Hopkins resident Vicky Jacks said that additional tax money from The Preserve can relieve them of pressure from paying more taxes. “Their tax money would help a whole lot because I know there is money out there without beating us up anymore,” Vicky said as she recounted the struggles of flooding in their area.
Tumwater resident Mat Parnell agreed that Tumwater should be responsible for the excess water flowing to Hopkins.
“[Hopkins] cannot continue to [control stormwater] with the huge amounts of water for which it was not designed. I feel that residents of the city of Tumwater are benefiting from this district and therefore have a responsibility to be a financial participant as well,” Parnell said.
Other Tumwater residents rejected needing to pay additional tax. “We don't live in [Hopkins] District. I do not want to fund the district to be taxed a third time for storm damage services when the real problem is that the Hopkins Ditch District doesn't have the worth or ability to properly maintain their district,” Wilcox said.
The Hopkins District has previously approached Tumwater for financial assistance but was rejected as Tumwater found no connection between developments in The Preserve and the flooding in Hopkins District.
“The reasonable cause of the increase in flood severity was the record-setting rain event concurrent with snow and ice melt. At the same time, the water table was already high,” Mayor Debbie Sullivan wrote to Jackmond in a February 15 letter.