Legislature passes $4B capital budget — provides funds for Shelton sewers, ‘tiny house’ project

OLYMPIA – Lawmakers Thursday passed a $4 billion public-works construction budget, providing funding for projects around the state including an innovative veterans’ housing project in Mason County and sewer improvements for the city of Shelton.

The local projects are among hundreds funded by the 2017-19 capital budget. Approval had been delayed a year by a legislative wrangle over household wells, which was resolved Thursday when Republicans and Democrats reached compromise. The water deal paved the way for quick passage of the public works bill.

“The deal on wells has its faults, but passage of the capital budget is good news for all of Washington,” Sheldon said. “It pays for projects of enormous importance to our community and our state.”

Big projects for the 35th Legislative District include $3 million for a “tiny homes” development for homeless veterans in Mason County. The shed-sized homes, 200 square feet or less, are about half the cost of conventional state-subsidized housing. Residents would be required to have honorable discharges. The project, first of its kind in a rural area, aims to provide a model for similar projects statewide.

The capital budget also provides $1.5 million for Shelton sewer repairs. State funding will help replace leaky and overloaded pipelines in the valley of the city, bounded by Alder Street, Henry Street, N. 1st Street and N. 8th Street. The project will reduce pollution in Shelton Creek and contamination of shellfish areas in Oakland Bay.

Sheldon said the projects will help reduce sewer bills in the city of Shelton, and offer a recognition of the contribution made by veterans. “They deserve our support after their important service to our country,” Sheldon said.

Other allocations include:

  • $4 million to replace failing electrical systems at the Washington Corrections Center in Shelton.
  • $2.2 million to replace a deteriorating roof at the Washington Corrections Center.
  • $8.8 million for renovation of the Eells Spring Hatchery.
  • $4.7 million for renovation of the Hoodsport Hatchery.
  • $7 million for floodplain planning by the Mason Conservation District, under the state Department of Ecology’s Floodplains by Design program.
  • $475,000 for improvements to the Holly Ridge Center building in Bremerton, which house programs for infants and young children with disabilities.
  • $12,000 for improvements to the Meals on Wheels kitchen at the Belfair Senior Center.
  • $27,000 for improvements to the Turning Pointe Domestic Violence Services shelter in Shelton.
  • $200,000 for improvements to Camp Schechter in Tumwater.

The budget also will provide loans for improvements to the Ostrich Creek Culvert in Bremerton ($4.6 million) and equipment replacement and upgrades for Thurston County Public Utility District No. 1 ($1 million).

The state’s capital construction budget is considered separately from the state’s operating budget. The public-works budget pays for durable assets like parks, schools and public buildings, and is financed largely by bonds.