Carlsborg Sewer-Project Math Stinks by Brian Frazier

How many people live in Carlsborg?

After reading 6 or so documents including the Financial Plan from Clallam County concerning the Carlsborg Sewer Project, I have come to realize that the county commissioners, Department of Community Development and the County Public Works Department have no idea how many people actually live in the “Carlsborg UGA.”

According to the June 20 2014 “Facilities Plan Amendment,” there were 856 people living in the “Carlsborg UGA” in 2013 — up from 842 in 2010. Using these figures based on “estimates” from the Office of Financial Management (OFM) result in a positive population change of 1.63% over the three year period,  or 0.55% growth per year. (See

Table E-1 page E-1, Table 2-2 Page 2-8, Chapter 1 Page 1-1, and Table 6 Page 12)

The actual, real population figures for the Carlsborg UGA are available from the OFM and the US Census.  According to the 2010 Census, 995 people were living in the Carlsborg Census Designated Place (CDP ) ; the 2000 census showed 855 — for a positive growth of 14.07% or 1.40% per year. 

Population decreasing

The 2013 Carlsborg CDP population is 908, according to the OFM.  That’s an 8.74% population decrease, or 29 people per year from 2010-2013, a 2.91% per year decline — but the county never talks about that even when asked point blank.

Why has the county and their “consultants” persisted on cutting and pasting erroneous figures from one document to the other since 2007 remains a mystery — especially when the accurate figures are available?

Actual residences and commercial businesses

You won’t see the county discussing housing units or the number of actual residences or commercial businesses in the Carlsborg UGA either; they only talk about “Equivalent Residential Units” (ERUs) not the number of physical structures.  Why, you may ask?

A numbers game

Because the number of ERUs is larger than the number of physical structures. The county states there are 406 commercial ERUs in the Carlsborg UGA, but there are only 62 physical commercial connections to be made.  Each commercial connection would then be assessed 7 ERUs (406 / 62 = 7).  See where this is going? 

They would then multiply the connection charge of $7,640 by 7 to get the total connection cost of $53,480.00.  Then do the same for the monthly user fee –$70 times 7 — for total user fee of $490.00 per month.  Follow me so far?

The county states they will waive all but $500 of the connection charge, but that’s still $3,500, plus any other plumbing cost like side sewer lines and abatement of a septic system that could add as much as another $8,500 GOTCHA! added to individual bills.

The number of residential ERUs  is simply the number of actual physical homes.  In Carlsborg there are 547 homes, of which 334 in mobile home parks are exempt by law, which leaves only 213 residences, plus the 62 commercial connections, for a total of 275 connections in the entire Carlsborg UGA — not 484 as stated in the February 2014 Carlsborg Sewer Financial Plan:

Why low-ball water use numbers? 

One ERU is equivalent to 125 gallons of water consumed per day, a low figure, considering that the Clallam County PUD says it should be 178 gallons per day.  This low ball figure frees the county to charge more if you consume more water.  This is a setup — the same one used by Mason County for its Belfair sewer system that’s now a wreck and running in the red.

Bad news from Belfair

Check out these articles:

Belfair sewer heading for the red

County weighs rate increase, subsidy

Mason County might need to nearly triple sewer rates for Belfair customers to avoid putting the Belfair Waste water Utility in the red.

“It’s a mess, and I don’t have the answer,” said Brian Matthews, Public Works and Utilities Director, calling the sewer utility “a turd.”

Port, business owners balk at sewer costs

 “A growing number of concerned citizens say that the Belfair sewer project could flush out residents, small businesses and non-profits in Belfair.”  “. . .connection fees are estimated at $3,000 per Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU), on top of another $6,000 to $7,000 to construct a side sewer into the system, and about $96 per month per ERU for sewer service.”

“Belfair Maytag Laundry had been tentatively allocated 22 ERUs, which means that it would cost the business $66,000 to connect and more than $2,000 per month in sewer rates.”

“The county had been estimating one ERU at a value of about 150 gallons per day, which many business owners felt was skewed too low allowing the county to charge for more ERUs per business.”

Clallam County going for broke – for Carlsborg

Gett the picture?  Clallam County has lost sight of the Carlsborg Sewer Project and is going for broke — at the expense of the Carlsborg residents.  

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