Property owners want KID to pay more for Bretz Road project

Kristi Pihl, Tri-City HeraldNovember 7, 2012 

Some property owners have asked the Kennewick Irrigation District to consider paying more of the cost overruns for the Bretz Road Local Improvement District project.

KID staff told board members Tuesday that the cost of the project increased because of demands the city of West Richland made once irrigation system improvements were under way. The project involves about 29 acres on Arena and Bretz roads.

The LID amount will be about $155,000, which Chuck Freeman, KID district manager, said is about $10,000 lower than the actual cost because KID will pay some of the increase.

The cost increases were predominately caused by West Richland, Freeman said. The city made demands of KID once the project was under way.

Most of the property in the LID is in the city of Richland, Freeman said.

KID filed a claim with West Richland for about $14,000 to recoup the cost of what officials described as unrealistic requirements. The claim was refused, Freeman said.

Freeman said KID will be asking the LID members to assign their rights to KID so KID can sue West Richland on their behalf.

Kurk Watts, who owns 6.3 acres included in the LID, said he is concerned because they were given an estimate of cost for the project and told that there could be a 10 percent difference. That number is what he said he based his decision on.

"We also would like to pay the amount that we had agreed on in the beginning," Watts said.

Phillip Longwell, one of the property owners on Arena Road, said he appreciated KID paying for some of the overrun, but thinks it would be more fair for the district to cover the full cost of the overrun.

The per-acre cost would be $5,321, according to the letter KID sent to property owners. It will be paid back over eight years. The project included building a pressurized irrigation system, including service water meters, according to KID documents.

The preliminary estimate was $121,340, which would have been $4,376 per acre, according to KID documents.

The LID will be considered at KID's Nov. 20 board meeting.

Also Tuesday:

w KID Board President Gene Huffman was re-elected to his board position for another three years.

He was the only one of the three KID board members whose position was open for election this year who did not face a challenger.

For Position 2, candidates include incumbent Patrick McGuire and James Wade, a frequent critic of KID's assessments that he claims favor agricultural customers at the expense of residential property owners. The position is for three years.

For Position 4, candidates include Dean Dennis, who recently was appointed by Benton County commissioners, Penny Hermanson, who is married to board member McGuire,and Dale Walter, who was appointed to the board in 2008 but not elected.

The deadline for candidates to file was Monday. The election will be Dec. 11.

KID will request short biographies from each candidate and will post those on its website, Freeman said.

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