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County denies City loan proposal for landfill erosion project

October 1st, 2013 - 5:34am

(Port Angeles) – The City of Port Angeles asked Clallam County for a seven-and-three-quarter million dollar loan to help fund the City’s landfill bluff erosion project.

However, County Treasurer Selinda Barkhuis advised against the plan at a meeting Monday, saying the loan would not be an investment, as called for in state law and the county’s investment policy.

The P.A. landfill bluff erosion project will cost 19-million dollars and City doesn't have the money to pay for it.

County Administrator Jim Jones, Junior, reluctantly agreed with the Treasurer, but says the County may try to put together something that will help the City.

County Commissioner Jim McEntire echoed that idea, saying everyone that uses the PA landfill or the recycling utility is affected by the erosion problem and needs to be a part of the solution.

McEntire says any decision by the County to help out the City will have to happen within the next month since it would affect the county’s budget.

City Manager Dan McKeen says the City will move forward as best they can.

He says the City could move forward and finance the entire amount through a bond, but it would likely be more expensive.

McKeen adds bonding the project has other financial liabilities associated with it, taking up a good portion of the city's bonding capacity, limiting funding in a future emergency.

City Public Works Director Craig Fulton says while the State Department of Ecology is providing 4-million dollars for the project, it’s not nearly enough for all the work that will be needed.

Fulton says the bluff is going to fail at some point and if it's does it will be a region wide disaster.

City engineering consultant Tom Burke says the rate of erosion of the bluff during the past 7 years is a cause for concern, with about 3 to 5 feet of erosion about 120 feet east of the end of the seawall.

After a marathon meeting, both the City and County agreed to keep working on the landfill erosion problem.

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