By David Anderson, Tillicum
A melodrama of sorts will be acted out at the Lakewood City Council meeting Monday night, 7 PM, August 20, with Don Wickstrom, Lakewood Public Works Director/City Engineer cast in the role of semi-hero (bowtie).
Not able to “pay the rent”, aka the damsels in distress (bow in hair), are several multi-family property owners in Woodbrook who say they can’t pay the mandatory sewer connection and sewer availability fees.
The city council may decide to play the part of villain (moustache).
As our story unfolds, “large multifamily properties have high costs to connect (sometimes disproportionate to the property value); require engineered plans and subsequent permit review; and current leases are fixed up to 12 months with no ability to pass on fees to tenants until leases expire.”
Snidely Whiplash (Ordinance No. 530 passed by the City Council in March, 2011) – while twirling his long handlebar moustache – insists the sewer connection requirement is mandatory along with payment of the “sewer availability fee”, equivalent to the monthly sewer service fee – connected or not.
Dudley Do-Right has proposed 12 months of a 50-percent fee discount for the multi-family property owners whose construction costs are certified to be over $100,000.
There are some strings attached however in that the property owners who take advantage of the 50-percent fee discounts, waive their ability for requesting a three-year extension on completing the sewer connection.
The plot thickens with the loss to the city of $151,000 in sewer availability fees should all property owners eligible to take advantage of this fee discount actually do so.
Meanwhile, though some of the financial cords binding them are thus promised to be snipped, the damsels in our story see themselves as still tied to the track – the results of a city survey showing them disgruntled still, Do-Right’s efforts insufficient.
What will the City Council do?
Will the multi-family property owners be rescued? Will the beautiful Inspector’s daughter fall in love with Horse? Will Snidely succeed in tying everything and everyone to the tracks?
In the meantime you can almost hear the sound of the train coming clickity-clack down the track by clicking here (and scrolling to pages 50-56).