Health board will consider cutting septic fees in Jefferson County

PORT TOWNSEND — The Jefferson County Board of Health will consider how to make a proposed septic system program more affordable for homeowners at a 2:30 p.m. meeting today.

The public comment period on the county’s proposed septic system operations and monitoring program will end after the hearing at the Pope Marine Building at City Dock, Water and Madison streets in downtown Port Townsend.

“We are trying to find a way to make it affordable to people, and I really think that is important,” said David Sullivan, D-Cape George, one of the three county commissioners.

Sullivan and the other two commisssioners — Phil Johnson, D-Port Townsend, and John Austin, D-Port Ludlow — sit on the health board.

Much of the controversy surrounding the proposed septic system operations and monitoring program involves objections to fees.

County health officials have said that county policy is that fee-based services support the actual cost of providing the service.

When the operation and monitoring program began in 2000, costs were calculated and the time required for receipting, routing, report review, follow-up and data entry was sufficient to justify a filing fee, they said.

Since its original adoption, the fee has increased at the same rate as the cost of living index, said county Public Health Director Jean Baldwin.

The proposed certification fees and continuing education requirements are recommendations based on preliminary analysis of projected costs, she said.

As with all fee proposals, they are subject to modification.

The homeowner classes are listed at $200, based on a bid from a qualified private contractor to provide that training, according to Baldwin.

Other bids are being sought.

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