Jefferson County has been working diligently to raise funds to make the cost of sewer more affordable for the residents and businesses in the Irondale & Port Hadlock Urban Growth Area. So far, Jefferson County has been able to raise $13.4 million from the following funding partners:
- Grant: 2008 Washington Department of Ecology Reclaimed Water Grant - $197,797
- Grant: 2009 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Predevelopment Grant - $25,000
- Grant: 2013 Special Appropriation Act Projects Federal Appropriation (Administered by the US Environmental Protection Agency) - $970,000
- Loan: 2011 Limited-tax General Obligation Bond Issue to be repaid by Rural County Sales Tax (Jefferson County Public Infrastructure Fund) - $2,202,190
- Loan: 2011 Public Works Trust Fund loan at .5% interest - $10,000,000
Jefferson County is looking for federal and state funding assistance to finish the design of the first phase of the local collection system (sewer lines and pump station to transfer waste from houses and businesses to the treatment plant) and fund the construction of the wastewater treatment plant. The County is prioritizing grants over loans in order to minimize the burden on the residents and businesses of Jefferson County. However, these grants are challenging to acquire. The County is also exploring other options, including forming a Local Improvement District (see below). The County will continue to work until it acquires funding sources that are both affordable and sustainable.
As with all sewers, the users of the system must fund any portion of the construction not covered by grants. Sewer users are typically charged through a combination of sewer connection fees and assessments from Local Improvement Districts (LIDs or ULIDs). In addition, the sewer customers pay for the ongoing operations and maintenance (O&M) of the system through monthly sewer bills. More details about funding can be found in the Sewer Facility Plan and the 2015 Updated Financial Plan.
LOCAL IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT
The 2008 Jefferson County Port Hadlock UGA Sewer Facility Plan recommends the establishment of a Local Improvement District (LID) to finance the cost of the sewer lines in the neighborhoods and local pump stations where necessary. A LID is a financing mechanism that allows an infrastructure project that benefits certain properties to be financed by the benefiting properties over time. A special benefit district would be formed to include the benefiting properties. Then the cost financed by the LID would be shared among the properties through a special assessment that could be paid outright (without interest) or over a number of years (with interest). The benefit to the properties must be greater than the assessments per Washington State Law (RCW 36.94.220).