FAQ

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Save Our Summit

Is the SOS team part of SLCA (Summit Lake Community Association)?

No.

What is the goal of the SOS team?

Environmental protection and cleanup of the greater Summit Lake watershed through the creation of a special district.

Who, when and why did the SOS team form?

Save Our Summit is a nonprofit whose mission is to provide environmental protection and cleanup of the greater Summit Lake watershed. SOS was created in 2018 by lake residents Kiley Gustafson, Ryan Keller, and Kyle Grunke.

Will the members of the SOS team participate in the special district?

The founder of SOS are interested in the special district and it is possible the County Commissioners would choose to appoint one or more to the initial special district commission. Any lake resident has the option to put their name in to the County Commissioners for consideration.

Special District

Do the board members get paid?

Board members may optionally receive limited compensation for reimbursement of expenses related actual attendance at official meetings or other official actions. Full details are under RCW 85.38.075.

How can the Special district be ended?

The process is similar to the formation process. See RCW 85.38.220 for complete information.

How is the board selected for the Special district?

The initial board is appointed by the Board of County Commissioners. Subsequent special district board members are elected.

How many signatures does it take to petition the commissioners to start the Special district Process?

Ten (10).

How successful are Special districts in solving lake water quality problems?

Other special districts have been very successful at improving lake water quality.

How will the Special district funds be collected?

Thurston County collects special district rates and charges at the same time and in the same manner as they collect property taxes.

If a special district is created, is it difficult or expensive to suspend operations?

It is not difficult or expensive to suspend operations. The process of suspending a special district’s operations may be initiated by the adoption of a resolution proposing such action by the governing body of the special district; the filing of a petition proposing such action by voters of the special district who own at least ten percent of the acreage in the special district or is signed by ten or more voters of the special district; or by the adoption of a resolution proposing such action by the county legislative authority.

Is a Special District required to have a Lake Management Plan?

A Special District (RCW 85.38) is created under different legislation than a Lake Management District and is not required to have a Lake Management Plan.

Is the goal to eliminate the toxic blooms?

Elimination of toxic blooms is necessary to prevent closure of the lake and degradation of property values.

What happens to the money collect for the Special district if it ends?

The funds become assets of the county.

What is the communication plan for the Special district?

Other special districts communicate through the usual channels – website, email, postcards, etc.

What is the cost to get the special district on the ballot?

The cost is estimated at $5,000 plus additional administrative cost (printing, mailing, and consulting fees). These charges are from the county as the bulk of the work must done by county staff (document review, public hearings, election process, etc.).

What is the duration of the Special district?

Special districts exist until suspended or dissolved.

What is the initial cost per property of the Special district?

Please see the petition for examples of rates: http://www.saveoursummit.org/petition/

What is the long term goal of the Special district?

To provide environmental protection and cleanup of the greater Summit Lake watershed

What is the short term goal of the Special district?

Conduct a comprehensive lake study to determine problem causes and possible solutions.

What is the storm water credit listed in the cost?

This is part of the property taxes already paid by homeowners. 50%of this tax will be credited to the special district if formed, reducing the overall portion of the rate payed by the property owner.

What is the term of the board members?

Six years

Who decides how the Special district money is spent?

The elected special district commissioners.

Why a Special district VS a Lake Management District?

Please visit the Resources page on the SOS website for more information: http://www.saveoursummit.org/faq/

Why do we need a Special district?

To share the costs of research, monitoring, and other water quality efforts in an efficient and fair manner.

Why haven’t we formed a Special district in the past?

In the past toxic blooms were rare or unheard of.

Will the cost of the Special district increased each year?

It is unlikely the commissioners would raise rates annually. The commissioners would have monthly meetings that are open to all lake residents for input in the Special District decisions.

Will the Special district engage experts?

Yes.

Voting

Are there county or state grants that can help us defer costs of a special district and/or vote?

No.

Does each property get one vote?

No – The owner of land located in a special district who is a qualified voter of the special district shall receive two votes at any election. Please see RCW 85.38.105 for more information.

How is the Special district vote taken?

By Thurston County in the same manner as all elections are managed.

How much do we pay the county to manage the Special district vote? Where does the money come from?

Approximately $15,000.00. The funds come from supporters of district formation.

If the property owner is not present how will they be notified/vote?

The ballot will be sent to the property owners registered mailing address.

Is simple majority enough to pass the vote?

Yes

There is a current request for donations. What will donated money be used for?

Costs associated with environmental protection and cleanup of the greater Summit Lake watershed through the creation of a special district.

When will the vote be held?

The goal is to have the election as part of the November elections. The vote will be held February 12, 2019.

Who votes to initiate the Special district?

The property owners within the proposed district boundaries.

Will I get to vote if I own property within the proposed special district boundary, but am registered to vote in a different county?

Yes, you will receive your ballot at the address you are registered to vote.

County Role

Does the formation of the special district impact the county’s jurisdiction?

The Thurston County Department of health will still remain in charge of lake closures. A special district will be a true legal jurisdiction and allow us to have a unified and formal voice. It will put us on the same level as other government entities.

Is there planed county research for tap water testing?

No

Our property taxes went up, why isn’t the county doing more?

The tax increases were for education funding. They will not increase the county’s lake monitoring budget.

We pay very high taxes, why doesn’t the county test/monitor the lake quality with money from our taxes?

The county does currently conduct very limited testing.

What can the County do to increase their budget for Summit Lake water management?

Designate Summit Lake as a County Area of Special Concern

What is the county’s current process for testing the lake water?

LAST YEAR – the county tested the lake water in the middle of the lake once a month from May to November for phosphates, nitrates, and other indicators of lake health. PLEASE NOTE: this was last year’s process and may not be the same this year.

When does the County test for toxins that result in lake closures?

The county only tests for toxins when an algae bloom is reported.

Why doesn’t the county help us more with lake issues?

Limited staff and resources.

General

Do Septic systems contribute to toxic blooms?

Possibly. A comprehensive lake study is needed to determine problem causes and possible solutions.

Do we know what causes the toxic bloom at Summit Lake?

No

Does fertilization contribute to toxic blooms?

Possibly. A comprehensive lake study is needed to determine problem causes and possible solutions.

Does fish stocking contribute to toxic blooms?

Possibly. A comprehensive lake study is needed to determine problem causes and possible solutions.

How can I find out if my septic system is failing?

Septic testing services are readily available to homeowners. Learn more at http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/health/ehoss/

How can we stayed informed?

Sign up for the SOS email list. The Nextdoor app is also popular in the community

Is a lake wide sewer system being considered?

Not by Save Our Summit. Save Our Summit supporters are not aware of any recent efforts to consider a lake wide sewer system.

Is a lake wide water system being considered?

Not by Save Our Summit. Save Our Summit supporters are not aware of any recent efforts to consider a lake wide water system.

What can we do now?

The community association has already identified many ways to reduce our impact on the lake.

Why aren’t all residents required to test their septic systems?

The county only requires complex septic systems be tested every three years. 66% of the systems at Summit Lake are NOT complex and there is no requirement to test them on a regular basis.

Why hasn’t the community rallied around water quality in the past?

In 1991 the county and community teamed to write a proposal for a Summit Lake Management Water Quality plan. This plan included everything we are concerned about today except a toxic bloom had not yet been seen. The plan proposed an 8 year Lake Management District that was put to a vote of the SL community; 63% voted against the LMD. No similar effort has occurred since that time.

Will the Special district address failing Septic Systems?

If septic systems are determined to be a contributing factor to water quality issues the district could choose to help address failing septic systems.

Will there ever be an algae solution?

We might not be able to stop the presence of the toxic algae but we can reduce its likelihood of happening. The goal of the special district is to improve water quality. This includes algae blooms but also can/will include all water quality issues.