Local residents get a vote on utility district control
Local voters get a say in their water and sewer district representation after a bill co-sponsored by Sen. Mark Miloscia and Rep. Linda Kochmar was signed into law yesterday. The measure requires any takeover of a water or sewer district by a city to be approved by a referendum on the ballot.
“I believe voters deserve the right to decide who represents and taxes them,” said Miloscia, R-Federal Way. “Cities and districts have long-standing legal issues over the authority to assume control of a district and potentially raising taxes without voter approval. This law puts an end to that struggle.”
If there are sufficient signatures, under Senate Bill 5048, voters residing in the part of a water-sewer district to be assumed by a city will vote to support or deny the effort in the next election. A contract or interlocal agreement between the city and the utility district for the assumption of all or part of a utility district does not require a referendum. Similar referendum provisions are already in place for fire district annexations.
“This bill simply extends the rights voters already have with other local annexation efforts. It's important our communities have a say in their representation and local government's actions,” said Kochmar, R-Federal Way. “This bill has been in the works since the mid-1990s, and I'm glad to finally see it signed into law.
Miloscia previously served as a commissioner and Kochmar as a risk manager for local Lakehaven Utility District. The bill will go into effect July 24, 2015.
PHOTO CAPTION: Gov. Jay Inslee signs Senate Bill 5048, co-sponsored by Sen. Mark Miloscia and Rep. Linda Kochmar.
###Washington State House Republican Communications