City council makes headway with several infrastructure projects
There will soon be 11 more pieces of property inside Homer city limits that will enjoy water and sewer service after action Monday night by the city council.
Residents of Tasmania Court and a portion of South Slope Drive petitioned the city to create a special assessment district for water service. The lots, just uphill from Homer High School, formed something of a “donut hole” with water and sewer service in all directions, but none serving them.
The estimated cost of the water improvements is $234,105. The city’s water and sewer fund will pay 25 percent of the costs, with the 11 properties being assessed $15,962 each to cover the rest.
The council also began the process of creating a special assessment district for sewer services to switch all of the properties currently utilizing septic systems in the Tasmania Court area to city service. The city will design both projects over the winter so they can be done together next summer.
Homer Public Works Director Jan Keiser said doing the projects together makes the best sense.
“We believe this makes sense from a basic infrastructure point of view. We're going to be installing water. It's a proven thing, the fact that people with city water use more water, which puts our septic tanks at risk. While we're putting in the water line, it makes technical and economic sense to install the sewer line at the same time,” Keiser said. “We recognize that the homeowners may not be interested in city sewer at this time, because they may have operating septic tanks that they think are doing just fine, but we believe given Homer's history, it's just a matter of time before they fail. And we'd like to be ready. It's an ideal golden opportunity to extend a vital service to unserved properties.”
The council also approved a special assessment district for a seawall off Ocean Drive. Mayor Ken Castner praised the residents there for working together with the city.
“We all want to have community solutions for community problems. And I think that the people that have property along the seawall have done well,” Castner said. “I also want to congratulate public works for coming up with a budget, which I think is really responsible and will deliver a product that is going to be a great product. I appreciate the engineering that went into it, and all the elements that were were in it.”
The cost of the project is estimated to be $1,035,970 with property 18 owners paying 100% of the costs. The city council did vote Monday night to reimburse one property owner for matériel they’ve already purchased for the project. Kaiser explains.
“And they have taken some steps at self-help and protecting their property by purchasing some armor rock and some filter fabric, but they were not able to get the permit to actually do a quality installation. And so what we are proposing to do for them is use their rock, move their rock away from the existing wall, so that we can lay down some filter fabric and place the rock in accordance with our specifications so that it is a continuous project with all the other properties,” Keiser said. “So that's going to require some effort. We will pay them for the value of their rock -- you've approved the required legislation to do that. So we will reimburse them for the value of their rock, but we still need to basically move it twice to place it properly. And that's going to incur some costs.”
The council voted to reimburse them up to $36,000 for armor rock and geo-textile fabric they already bought.