Grant County PUD agrees to leaseholders’ request to extend payback for Crescent Bar sewer work

2250

The Grant County PUD will give Crescent Bar leaseholders an additional 15 years to pay back their share of a new $12.5 million sewer system.

Representatives of the homeowners association had asked for the change from a 10-year payback to 25 years after the project came in much higher than estimated.

The original plan to repay the PUD for the work was part of an agreement that ended years of litigation that gave homeowners new leases through 2047. Prior to that settlement, leaseholders faced potentially losing their leases.

PUD Commissioner Dale Walker opposed the extension, saying that to do so could be a violation of state law, which limits how PUDs can spend money or extend credit. It could cause problems with state auditors, he said.

But Commissioner Tom Flint said, considering the higher-than-expected cost, it was the right thing to do.

The leaseholders themselves had estimated the project would cost $3 million to $4 million but meeting PUD regulatory requirements pushed the actual cost much higher.

The extension passed by a 3-2 vote, with the stipulation the homeowners first pay back more than $20,000 in past-due leaseholder taxes.

In other business, commissioners did not take action but said they support spending more money than budgeted in 2019 to speed up the build-out of the PUD’s fiber-optic network. General manager Kevin Nordt said the PUD could use its reserves to cut the build-out from 10 to 5 years without risking the lowering of its bond rating.