The Kennewick Irrigation District plans to start extending service to some private pipeline customers using a new surcharge financing method later this month.
About 15 properties in the Oak Hills neighborhood at the northwest corner of South Oak Street and East Game Farm Road will be the first to benefit from the new method.
A handful of the property owners were at a recent KID board meeting to encourage the board to move forward with the new pipeline project.
Marcus Muzatko, one of the residents who has committed to pay for the new system, said he appreciates the work KID staff put in to resolve the neighborhood’s issues of being served by a privately owned pipeline.
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Many frustrated customers have difficulty getting KID water through privately owned pipelines, and some want to be directly served by the district instead. More than 7,000 parcels in the district’s boundaries are served by private lines. One could serve anywhere from two properties to 200.
The KID board of directors unanimously approved a master plan for the 525 acres north of East Game Farm Road near South Oak Street. About 426 acres actually have water.
The board unanimously authorized starting the first phase of the improvements needed to serve a 35-acre area known as the Oak Hills neighborhood. That includes the first phase of the new 12-inch lateral canal and the distribution system to serve the five property owners who have committed to paying their share of the project costs.
KID staff has been authorized to award a contract for the first phase of the project to the lowest bidder at a cost not to exceed $130,000.
Property owners have committed to pay about $52,800 so far, said Jason McShane, engineering and operations manager. The cost per acre is about $4,600 .
The project can be easily expanded to add the distribution system for other property owners within the Oak Hills neighborhood who decide they want to join, McShane said.
Customers who benefit from the improvements will pay a surcharge when they connect to the system. That charge would be set by the irrigation district’s board and would be paid with annual bills.
“Get ready for water,” Kirk Rathbun, KID board president, told the waiting property owners.
Future phases can be built once enough property owners in those areas make a financial commitment to pay their portion of the system costs, McShane said.
Also at KID’s meeting last week:
• The board of directors also approved awarding a contract to design and manage the construction of the new administration building to Solarc of Portland. The cost of the contract is not to exceed about $444,000.
The building is expected to cost about $2.25 million. KID officials plan to order a prefabricated metal building.
The KID board decided in January to sell its downtown Kennewick building and consolidate its administration and field staff at KID property at 2015 S. Ely St. The goal is to improve customer service and oversight of staff, and to address some cultural issues that have been created by the separation of administration and field employees.
The district already has sold the downtown building and a parking lot to Meier Architecture and Engineering of Kennewick for $915,000.