Water District #119 does not initiate new water service. All requests for service come from area property owners, and the District responds and assists with these requests.
At the option of the Water District, water service can be provided both inside and outside of the District’s established service area. If it is determined that the properties must be with the District’s service area, then they must first be annexed. Otherwise, annexation is not required.
- Developer Extension
First an “Annexation Area” must be established. Based on information from area property owners, boundaries are drawn that contain the majority of properties who desire to have public water, and a petition is circulated among them. The owners of 60% of the total land acreage must approve the petition for it to pass. The completed petition is then presented to the commissioners of the water district. The water district may require that the estimated annexation costs be paid by the area property owners when the signed petition is presented. A public meeting to hear testimony from affected property owners is scheduled, and notices are posted within the area, and in a local newspaper. After all testimony is heard at the public meeting, the commissioners vote to approve or deny the annexation. If the annexation area is more than 10 acres or more than $2 million in assessed value, the annexation proposal is then sent to the County Boundary Review Board. Then the King County Council must give their approval. These processes can take several months.
Upon approval by the King County Boundary Review Board, if required, and the King County Council, the annexation area is added to the district’s current service area.
Water Main Construction
There are two possible ways obtain water via a district water main: a “Developer Extension” or a “Utility Local Improvement District” (ULID).
In a Developer Extension, one or more property owners agree cover the cost of installing the water main, and hire their own contractor for the work. Any other users who wish to later connect to the main must reimburse a share of the cost to those owners who paid for the main. This “Late Comers Agreement” remains in effect for 15 years.
In a ULID, the owners of properties which are determined to benefit from the new water main share in the cost. A ULID petition is circulated to these same property owners, and the completed petition is presented to the commissioners of the water district. A 50% + 1 majority of the total area acreage is required for passage.
During this time the water district begins to plan the actual project to extend the water main into the annexation area. Normally this type of project is financed through the sale of municipal bonds, however, the water district may also apply for special grants and low-interest loans to decrease the costs.
Upon passage of the ULID, a public meeting is scheduled to hear testimony from affected property owners. Notice of the date of the public meeting and a “good faith estimate” of the per parcel cost is mailed to each area land owner. After all testimony is heard at the public meeting, the commissioners vote to approve or deny the ULID.
Upon approval of the ULID, the district will solict for bids for the project. After a contractor is selected work will begin installing the new pipeline.
After the project is completed, the assessed cost for each property is added to the county tax bill to be paid over a 15 to 20 year period. Early payment is allowed without penalty. A hearing will then be held to allow property owners who feel their properties will not benefit from the new water service to make their case to the district commissioners. The commissioners may decide to reduce or eliminate a property’s assessment depending on the facts presented.
What is the cost?
The cost of annexation must be borne by those property owners who wish to become part of the water district’s service area. These costs have been recently estimated at $5000-$15000, and must be paid in all or part (at the commissioners’ discretion) at the time the completed annexation petition is presented to the water district. These payments cover the office, legal and engineering costs involved with the annexation process.
Water Main Construction (ULID)
The water district has normally opted to assess properties on a “per buildable parcel” basis, as opposed to the “front footage” basis which is common in urban areas. This formula provides a more equitable way of dividing the cost; since each buildable property benefits equally from water service, each will pay an equal share of the project cost.
The size of a buildable parcel is determined by the zoning for the property. For example, a zoning permitting only one house on five acres (AR-5) means that any parcel from .01 to 9.99 acres in size would be assessed one share, since the parcel cannot be divided into two building lots. A parcel of 10.00 to 14.99 acres could be divided into two parcels, and so would be assessed two shares.
The following are examples of buildable parcels per lot size based on two local zoning types:
|Zoning||Lot Size in Acres||Number of Buildable Parcels|
|AR-5 (One House per 5 Acres)||0.01 to 9.99||1|
|10.00 to 14.99||2|
|15.00 to 19.99||3|
|20.00 to 24.99||4|
|AR-10 (One House per 10 Acres)||0.01 to 19.99||1|
|20.00 to 39.99||2|
|40.00 to 59.99||3|
|60.00 to 79.99||4|
It is important to remember that these assessments are treated in the same manner as a school or library levy, and are added to your county tax bill to be repaid over a 15 to 20 year period, however early repayment is allowed without penalty. This levy is tied TO THE PROPERTY. In the event the property is sold, the assessment can transfer with the property if the buyer, seller and new mortgage lender agree. It should be noted that some new mortgage lenders have required that the assessment be paid by the seller before they will agree to the loan. This may also be the case when refinancing an existing mortgage.
Hookup and Meter Installation
A one time hookup charge is charged to cover the cost of installing the water meter service line that will serve a property. If the contractor who builds the pipeline is willing and able to install the service line and the property owner desires hookup at the time of the main construction, the cost may be discounted. If the contractor is not able to install the meter, or the property owner decides to connect to the system at a later date, the District will install the meter at the normal rate at the future date.
The water meter is normally installed at the edge of the property. Property owners are responsible for the line from the meter to their home and/or other destinations.
Property owners should carefully consider the path and size of these lines. The District Engineering staff and maintenance personnel can assist with information and recommendations concerning these issues.
What About Your Existing Well?
Current legislation does not permit water purveyors to compel properties to hookup to public water service. Property owners are allowed to keep their existing wells in operation. The only requirement is that there may be no cross-connections of any kind between private and public water systems. Many property owners choose to connect public water to their homes, and keep the private wells for livestock and irrigation.