The city of Roslyn will soon be the newest member of the Kittitas County Conservation District.

The Roslyn City Council voted unanimously to join the district at its meeting on Tuesday.

District Manager Anna Lael gave a presentation to the council, where she outlined the process to become a member of the district. She also discussed the various services the district can offer the city, and the financial cost to homeowners.

Lael said the district can help the town with stormwater management, Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping, and grant writing, as well as coordination with the fire-adapted communities program.

“There’s a lot of different things we can do, roles we can play in a lot of different arenas,” Lael said. “Our capacity is to come in and fill a niche, whatever it is that’s not being done and needs to be done, that’s what we try to do.”

COST

Lael said most parcels in the city of Roslyn would be charged $4.91 a year. Larger properties would be charged an extra 3 cents per acre, but Lael said that most properties within Roslyn city limits are so small they would not be charged for acreage. Lael said this fee schedule will be in place until 2026.

“Although we’re not part of the county, the board of county commissioners is who approves our system of rates and charges,” Lael said. “Since it was approved in 2016 for a 10-year period, if Roslyn annexed in, then you would be under that system of rates and charges.”

Lael estimated the total annual cost to the city to be approximately $4,500.

“Not a tremendous amount of money, but it’s good seed money,” Lael said.

Lael said most of the money that comes in goes to funding projects and staff time, as well as matching funds for grants and other sources of funding. She estimated that the district raises $6.54 for every dollar of local funds collected.

When asked by the council why residents do not vote on incorporation into the district, Lael said the structure in place at the district is approved by the county commissioners.

“It’s collected with the property taxes but it’s a rate and a charge not based on assessed value,” Lael said. “I realize that’s a very fine line. Since it’s collected with the property taxes people think of it as a tax. I try not to.”

Prior to the council vote, local resident Mitch Long spoke in support of joining the district.

“For me, I’m willing to give up a cup of coffee a year to be able to access the amount of resources that the conservation district could provide for the city,” Long said. “When you think about that for being able to leverage the types of funding that they have access to and the programs they have access to and being able to sit down and talk about what we need, I think that’s very worthwhile.”

The city will send out a notice about joining the district to residents in utility bills.

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