FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - February 7, 2019
CONTACT - Barry Dugan, Senior Programs Specialist: 707-547-1930, 707-331-2040, firstname.lastname@example.org
Santa Rosa, CA – The Sonoma County Water Agency (Sonoma Water) Board of Directors (Board) has approved a project to bring sewer service to the Larkfield Estates neighborhood that was destroyed in the October, 2017 Tubbs Fire. The project was approved at the Board’s regular meeting on Tuesday, February 5.
“This is the kind of project that demonstrates the resiliency of our community,” said Water Agency Director James Gore, whose Fourth District includes the Larkfield area. “We’ve come up with a creative solution that allows property owners to voluntarily participate in an infrastructure improvement project, and if they choose to do so, can take advantage of some very good financing. We hope that as many people as possible sign up for this project.”
Included in the Board’s actions this week was a March 31, 2019 deadline for property owners to execute a commitment letter indicating their desire to voluntarily participate in the project. The letter states that a sewer lateral will be constructed to their property and they will be required to connect once sewer service is available. The March 31 deadline is needed because it is necessary to know which properties will be included in the project in order to complete the design.
“This is a great example of a community, after the disastrous fires, taking the opportunity to make the community and the infrastructure stronger,” said Board Chair David Rabbitt. “I applaud their strength, perseverance, and initiative.”
The financing plan approved by the Board is intended to ease some of the financial burden for property owners during the rebuilding process. The estimated cost per-parcel to participate is $50,000-$65,000, depending on the amount of the construction bid that is awarded. Sonoma Water will offer property owners a 30-year loan to cover construction costs, with a 10-year grace period that includes no interest or principal. After 10 years, property owners would begin payments on a 20-year, fixed-rate 2.5% interest rate loan. Financing of the current connection fee of $11,940 will be available with a 20-year 2% interest loan, with payments starting at the time of connection to the sewer.
Total estimated cost for the project is currently $7.9 million, including construction, design, inspection and administration. There are 143 parcels eligible for sewer service within the project area. Previously, the neighborhood was served with privately owned septic systems.
Updated information on this project can be found by visiting www.sonomawater.org/larkfield