Public hearing on Dec. 5
By Jamie Henneman/The Independent Staff
Coming up on Dec. 5 the public has an opportunity to weigh in on the Stevens County Capital Facilities plan for 2017-2022, a document that helps assess and prioritize where the county commissioners should use infrastructure monies on items like buildings, bridges or roads. The public hearing on the new plan is set for Monday, Dec. 5 at 10 a.m. in the Stevens County Commissioners’ hearing room at 210 S. Oak in Colville.
The plan takes a broad look at all the infrastructure systems in the county that serve its 40,844 residents including 2,478 miles of roads, 192 public water systems, 40 different school buildings and other components.
While the county isn’t responsible for all the different infrastructure systems in the county, the state Growth Management Act requires the county to do a regular assessment of those systems via the capital facilities plan.
The county collects a particular tax on real estate sales, known as the Real Estate Excise Tax (REET), that is dedicated towards capital projects. The REET fund collects roughly $500,000 per year that can be spent on “brick and mortar” projects.
Current potential projects on the capital projects list include items like the construction of a new county jail, a remodel of the former Avista building that now houses the county commissioner offices and a remodel of the sheriff’s offices in the county courthouse to make more efficient use of the space. Martin Hall, the juvenile detention facility in Medical Lake that Stevens County uses in partnership with other counties, will complete its bond obligation at the end of the year and that facility has repair needs, like a new roof. All of these projects will compete for priority and funding in the new capital facilities plan.
How to spend the capital improvement funds is a decision that the county commissioners are authorized to make, but the public can also provide feedback on what projects should get priority.
“The hearing is a chance for the public to tell us what projects they think are important,” said Stevens County Commissioner Wes McCart. “This is a good opportunity to provide citizen input.”
Citizens interested in learning more about the current infrastructure systems in the county and reviewing the list of current needs can do so by accessing the 2016-2021 capital facilities plan available at www.co.stevens.wa.us under 2015 “commissioners documents,” #85-2015 or by calling the commissioners office at 684-3751.