The Herald’s June 24 edition included a letter to the editor that expressed objections to possible funding of an engineering plan for wastewater, potable water and fire protection for Twin Lakes Village and adjacent Gordon Acres. The writer is to be commended for her concern for best use of available funding. On behalf of the 40 signers of the petition to the Board of County Commissioners to reserve this funding, I would like to clarify some misinterpretations by the letter writer.
The proposed project is not a study to determine the need for infrastructure, which is well known and increasingly critical. The project is preparation of specifications for these infrastructure systems, including defining possible costs for construction and operation. This project does not include construction of any of the systems, but it would provide solid information for decisions on moving forward, or not. Addressing the needs for these systems cannot advance without this information.
This project is an extremely good use of the requested funding to protect water quality in the lakes, support health and safety of residents and visitors, and sustain the substantial and growing economic asset to Lake County that is the Twin Lakes community. This project is also long overdue. The county failed to act in 1975 when the Bureau of Reclamation identified the need for wastewater and potable water systems in Twin Lakes and offered to both participate in and help fund planning for a solution. Twenty years later, the county declined to allow formation of a special taxing district for Twin Lakes after community members paid for a preliminary engineering study for a wastewater system for the village.
Now is the time to move forward on this. American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds are specifically available to be used “To make necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.” ARPA money is a grant from the federal government to the county as a whole. We have requested that only three percent of the county’s allocation be set aside for the engineering study. Use of these funds for this study would help position us to have a “shovel-ready” project for grant funding under the proposed federal infrastructure program or under existing programs of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies.