Water utility south of Brinnon gets franchise

PORT TOWNSEND — A water utility south of Brinnon will obtain a franchise from the county to provide utility service using county rights-of-way, the Jefferson County commissioners decided unanimously Tuesday.

The Seamount Estates Community Water System will be allowed to construct, maintain and operate a Group A community public water system.

The non-exclusive franchise agreement allows for pipes, valves, hydrants and other appurtenances upon, under, along and across a franchise area within unincorporated Jefferson County.

Commissioner Kate Dean said she is “pleased to see a publicly-owned asset put to use for the good of the communities and this is a great example of how the property we hold rights to can better serve the residents of Seamount Estates.”

The commissioners set the franchise term at 25 years, with an option to renew for an additional 25 years.

Terry Duff, County Engineering Technician III, said that under the state RCW 36.55 the water system must obtain a franchise to use the county rights of way for their service.

“They do not have a franchise so this is the agreement that they need to put into place,” she said.

Duff said that the franchise term time period is standard.

“Over time, there are so many things that change, obligations and things in place today were not the same 50 years ago. So we came up with the 25-year date.”

Commissioner David Sullivan said that “there are ways to amend or terminate and re-do these things, but they can be updated.”

Duff said there are provisions in the franchise that allow for changing the terms.

During the public hearing portion of the meeting, no one gave testimony to the commissioners on the issue. The hearing was closed and the commissioners quickly approved the resolution.

Sullivan said this was a straightforward thing to do and there are plenty of other agreements that allow for the rights to be given for other utility infrastructure. He said it was “familiar for us and the department.”

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Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-02335 or at [email protected]

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