Letters

“Magical thinking” and “Group think” will lead to Hadlock Sewer fiasco. This project is off the rails.

Jefferson County Commissioners:

I am outside the proposed Hadlock Sewer District (HSD). But I am a concerned County Taxpayer.

The BOCC is depending on federal funding or “Free Money” to finance this project. My concern as a country property tax payer is; even IF this project can be funded up to 100% of the initial construction costs, due to the limited number of tax parcels within the proposed HSD, they alone could not afford the annual cost of operating the Sewer Plant or HSD.

My concern is the Legacy Costs of sewer plant operation, maintenance as well as maintaining the Plant to ever increasing federal standards, will eventually fall to the County. Thus increasing all County Taxpayers Property Tax.

My other issue is the BOCC do not appear to be objective. I do not believe anyone of you have demonstrated to date,  the Skills needed to navigate through this proposal in a manner that will protect County Taxpayers from long term tax liabilities if this project goes forward.

According to local reporting the BOCC approved a purchase of property for a sewer plant sometime ago. Before any Vote by Taxpayers to approve the HSD. This decision demonstrated the BOCC  are proponents of this Project. Supposedly this whole effort is supposed to be a “community of business interests”. Since when does a County Government buy and “Hold” property in order to provide future “options” for a private group of developers?

What Funds Were Used in this purchase? How much did the BOCC obligate for this purchase and under what legal “authority” was used to obligate funds without voter approval?I want answers to these questions!

Obligation of taxpayer funds demonstrate the BOCC are PROPONENTS of this Project and are not objective. Kate Dean’s recent article about this project underscores this vividly.  She was regurgitating talking points of the business interests promoting the HSD.

The cost and environmental issues associated with this proposal are huge. The future liability of All County Taxpayers are potentially on the line. 

Just simple Arithmetic, dividing out the number of parcels served by the cost of initial construction, maintaining a Sewer system alone should signal that this project is just another “magical thinking” example..on economics alone. The idea or concept that this proposal can stand on it’s own without County taxpayer help is ridiculous.

There is so much WRONG about this proposal. How did it get this far with so little analysis? Real Simple, “Magical Thinking”. Magical Thinking and “Happy Talk” is the analysis and the same process that lead to the Fiasco around the City of Port Townsend and its involvement with the Fort and PDA. 

The same “process” that lead the Public Homeless initiative barging a House from Canada without any building inspection prior to the Sale? How is that turning out? How about the failed initiative to increase property taxes for the “Homeless”. The BOCC approved that to be on the ballot, how did that turn out? More importantly it demonstrated how very much out of touch the BOCC is with what the taxpayers believe are important. Review that Vote!

I’ve lived in this County for over 40 years. There is a common complaint echoed by county residents about the BOCC. I am sure you have heard it. When a new commissioner gets elected, they enter the court house and become extensions of the Port Townsend City Council.  Can you see a pattern here? Can you see the results of the lack of critical thinking and “Group Think”. The half-baked magical thinking crowd has had a effect on the BOCC.

As a result the failed homeless initiative, PDA fiasco and the proposed “Homeless” property tax increase. The genesis of that new tax initiative started within the PTCC. That is how We Got Here! And I do not want a repeat that could affect County Taxpayers!

With all that said, make no mistake what my motives are. I do not feel the BOCC or my new commissioner is looking out for the County Taxpayer and you are blundering in the same direction as the PTCC! I have no doubt that each of You are sincere and Honest Public Servants. I know each one of you are trying to Help solve problems as You see them.  But this project is off the rails and needs objectivity along with a Cost Benefit Analysis as well as a Environmental Impact Statement. Building a Sewer Plant along the banks of Chimacum Creek? Increasing density of housing and running a sewer plant on our aquifer? Let alone how this will affect the community.

I want answers to my questions about the land purchase and request them in writing within a reasonable amount of time, (30 days from the receipt of this email).  I also want assurances as to HOW YOU PLAN TO PROTECT THE COUNTY TAXPAYERS OUTSIDE THE HSD from the costs of this project. And I want a clear-eyed analysis of The Cost Benefit of the project. These Federal Grant’s come with big long term costs…but not yet have I’ve heard a WORD from my elected officials as to what they are. Just superficial “Happy Talk”. 

Sincerely,
Harvey Olson

Pro-septic in Hadlock?

PTLeader Letter at: https://www.ptleader.com/stories/pro-septic-in-hadlock,69086?

For the record, not everyone in Port Hadlock is pro-sewer. Looking closely inside the red lines of the map (4/29 issue pg. 8) I’ve noticed that relatively few of the homes in Port Hadlock are included. It is mostly the large undeveloped land owned by the “core group” of property owners who will benefit from a sewer system by allowing them to turn our small and quiet community into an “anywhere USA” of big-box stores and strip malls with a few cheaply built dwellings thrown in.

We already have everything we need in Port Hadlock; QFC, The Corner Store in Chimacum, True Value and Carl’s and Arrow Lumber for building supplies, gas stations, auto repair, restaurants, bars, banks, a motel, barbers and beauty salons, etc. We don’t need huge box stores and their vast paved parking lots washing polluted rainwater into Chimacum Creek and overwhelming the “Mom & Pop” local retailers.

The article states that in 2018 this “core group” presented the county with a petition indicating strong support for a sewer. How many homeowners stated their support for sewers, not realizing their property wouldn’t be included?

Will this wastewater treatment facility be state-of-the art? Will it be a combined system that collects surface runoff as well? Will it be able to withstand a heavy rain season without overflowing raw sewage into the Salish Sea?

The county’s money would be better spent by assisting in updating and improving the already installed septic systems at minimal cost to home and business owners. Septic systems are a much more environmentally friendly way of treating waste water than pumping it out to our beautiful Salish Sea waters.

Alan Susnow
Port Hadlock

Proper management lacking on sewage

PTLeader letter at: https://www.ptleader.com/stories/proper-management-lacking-on-sewage-letter-to-the-editor,73400?

Is there still time to reconsider before we begin the headlong rush to construction of a sewer system in Hadlock? 

The Board of County Commissioners just issued a call for bids on the installation of a “Bioreactor Membrane” for a “water reclamation system” — i.e. a sewer plant. Does this mean they now have $12 million on hand to pay for it? Or will taxes be raised?

In the run-up to this, comments opposing a sewer were dismissed out of hand. The residents have come out en-mass to oppose it whenever sewer systems have been proposed. Why are they against it?

Foremost is the ungodly cost, and no one wants to be forced to buy in. Initially, suspicions that it would cost too much were only guesswork; but now that the expensive studies have been done, the figures show how right we were. Yes, the studies are guesswork, too, and are probably low-ball, but County documents say that each resident could be on the hook for upward of $24,000 just to get a connection. 

Then there is the expense of tearing out our existing and perfectly functional septic systems. And the monthly fees thereafter. Who pays for the electricity to power each of the pumps and grinders we would be required to use?

It just doesn’t makes sense to pipe all our waste into one big system, and then face huge problems when things go wrong. Look what is still happening in Seattle, with millions of gallons of raw sewage washing out into Elliot Bay. Also, Poulsbo, into Liberty Bay; Bremerton, into Sinclair Inlet; and the failure of many other municipal systems prove that they can’t be properly managed.

Please don’t make home ownership even more expensive at this awful time, when so many have already lost their homes.

Michael Regan
PORT HADLOCK

Sewers endanger low-income housing

PTLeader.com letter at: https://www.ptleader.com/stories/sewers-endanger-low-income-housing-letter-to-the-editor,73575?

Bids are out for the first phase of a three-phase sewer project in Hadlock-Irondale.

The estimate is each Hadlock resident will pay $28,000 for a hookup into this sewer project, and if this projection follows the same trajectory of most budget estimates, the cost per household will be higher.

Marked by its small houses, double wides, trailers and homesteads, Hadlock is the location of the majority of low income housing on the Quimper Peninsula. The sewer system is likely to price current residents out of their homes forcing them further out on the urban fringes or into the woods.

How honest are the Realtors, developers and county officials barreling ahead with this project? The Irondale Community Action Neighbors (ICAN) poll found 90 percent of residents are against the project. The truth is the cheapest low income housing is a trailer and low density Hadlock-Irondale is a nice place to put it. Low paid front-line workers who have managed to purchase property and a home in Hadlock may be forced to sell to Californians fleeing the global warming fired burning of that more southern state. What I see is dollar signs in the eyes of Realtors, developers and politicians as they force gentrification.

I will support a new sewer system in Hadlock when you get buy-in from the 90 percent who are now against it. There has been no vote. Stop the project. Pull the bid request and do what is really required. Politicians, go to Hadlock, walk door to door just like you should have in your campaigns, and talk to the folks who will be most affected. Show your compassion. Then let there be a vote. Ignore the Realtors and the developers until you have heard the people’s voices.

Otto Smith
PORT TOWNSEND

PTLeader letter at: https://www.ptleader.com/stories/people-seem-happy-with-the-status-quo-letter-to-the-editor,73392?

People seem happy with the status quo

Why is Jefferson County asking for bids related to the Hadlock sewer proposal when most of the people living in Port Hadlock are against this project? Do their voices not count? 

The last estimate for just the beginning of the project included $28,000 per residential hookup and no answers about who will pay to maintain the individual grinders to each home. These costs could drive people out of their homes in Port Hadlock, one of the more affordable housing areas of our county. Where is the community outreach? Citizens deserve to be heard and have their concerns addressed.

Is the county going forward on this sewer plan against the will of the people? If so, why?

I can’t help but wonder if there are investors, who have purchased lands around Port Hadlock hoping to profit if this sewer system is completed. Maybe they have dreams of developing a huge box store. In the meantime, most people who live there seem happy with the status quo.

Affordable housing has no real connection to this sewer proposal. We have a sewer system and plenty of land available in Port Townsend where apartments and other low income housing projects can be built. The state Department of Commerce recognized this when it awarded over $11 million to the Olympic Community Action Programs’ Seventh and Hendricks affordable housing project.

We could triple or even quadruple the affordable housing stock in Port Townsend with the money required to construct a new sewer system in Port Hadlock. Building affordable housing in Port Townsend is a much better use of resources. It will directly improve issues of homelessness and the need for affordable housing for young families and workers in our county. Let’s listen to the community and stop the forward march on this sewer proposal.

Pamela Roberts
QUILCENE

Many are opposed to Hadlock sewer system

Posted Friday, March 12, 2021 12:28 pm: https://www.ptleader.com/stories/many-are-opposed-to-hadlock-sewer-system-letter-to-the-editor,74172

As a resident of greater Hadlock, I could not possibly afford the now $28,000 to $41,000 estimate of what each homeowner would have to pay to hookup to the proposed Hadlock sewer system. 

It would be far more economical to just pump septic tanks when needed — every 10 years? Every five years? Cost? About $450.

What happens if the county goes ahead and commits to this $23 million to $100 million project? Some landowners with large parcels may be able to develop at higher densities and the value of their land will be greatly increased. But for small homeowners who are forced to pay and can’t, the only option for the county would be a dramatic property tax increase to pay for the boondoggle. Certainly then, you would have every property owner in the county crying foul, but it would be way too late.

The Irondale Community Action Neighbors poll found that 90 percent of the residents in the project area are against the proposed sewer project. Where is the data that indicates that there is any support for this project?

Gail Chatfield
PORT HADLOCK