City of Maywood Park - Measure 26-242

Ballot Title: 

Shall Maywood Park connect to the sewer at this time?  

Question: Shall Maywood Park begin the transition away from private onsite wastewater systems to a public sewer system at this time?

Summary: Proposes the adoption of the existing Wastewater Facilities Plan replacing individual onsite cesspool and septic systems with a public sanitary sewer system. “Yes” vote means the city will begin the process of forming committees to pursue funding options.  Funding for this project is yet to be determined. There may be options for grants, local bonds, or low-interest loans to cover the costs of the project. This ballot measure does not endorse any particular method of funding, but rather seeks to gather input from the community regarding the adoption of regarding the adoption of the plan. The city would also begin working with The City of Portland to enter into an inter-governmental agreement (IGA) to connect to City of Portland sewer. Once funding methods are identified, a separate vote to fund and implement the wastewater facilities plan will be brought to the residents of Maywood Park in a future election.

“No” vote means the city will not move forward with plans to connect to sewer at this time, and residents will remain responsible for maintaining their own on-site wastewater systems.

Explanatory Statement:

This ballot measure asks the residents to decide yes or no for connecting to the public sewer. A yes vote will trigger creation of an advisory committee to begin the process of identifying funding options for a proposed public sanitary sewer system in Maywood Park, and begin creating an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) with City of Portland. A no vote means sanitary sewer will not be pursued at this time.

At this time, 85% of homes have a cesspool or septic system. Since 1980, 27% of those homes have a newer system. 73% of homes have original cesspools. 13% of homes have sewer available or are already connected.

The need for the project is not based on a regulatory finding of non-compliance or harm but is driven in part by regulatory change. Specifically, OAR 340- 071-0335(1) states “A person may not construct new cesspool sewage disposal systems in Oregon.” Today, homeowners must install a septic system when their cesspool fails. Recent years have seen some new septic system installations within Maywood Park cost homeowners more than the national average, often estimated over $40,000 per household. On average, a properly installed and well-maintained septic tank can last 20 to 40 years, and many residents in Maywood Park have already installed a private septic system. Meanwhile, several residents whose homes are close to the City of Portland sewer lines have already connected to Portland sewer.

Installing a new septic system or connecting to Portland sewer is quite costly, so these residents may not be in favor of a “Yes” vote because they have already invested in their home’s wastewater solution and do not wish to pay additional taxes to cover Maywood Park’s transition. Meanwhile, residents whose systems haven't failed yet may want to get on public sewers BEFORE they fail. PACE Engineering estimated the cost of connecting to sewer to be $46,900 per household for Maywood Park. This estimate includes the cost of installing sewer in the street, individuals’ connection to the sewer, and remediation of existing wastewater systems. As such, for individual households, the cost of maintaining things the way they currently are is possibly significantly less. One exception to this includes some residents on 102nd Avenue.

Regardless of the outcome of the Maywood Park sewer vote, residents whose homes are within 300 feet of “available public sewer” will be legally required to connect to City of Portland sewer if their on-site cesspool fails, instead of installing a new onsite septic system.

If passed, this ballot measure will direct the City Council to create advisory committees to find funding options for the project. Once funding methods are identified, a separate vote to fund and implement the wastewater facilities plan will be brought to the residents of Maywood Park in a future election. This advisory committee will work to ensure that the project is funded in a way that is fair and equitable to all residents of Maywood Park.

Submitted by:
Dalene Bloom, Finance Director/City Recorder
City of Maywood Park

No arguments in Favor or Opposition to this Measure were filed.