Cooperative Agreements and Local Improvement Districts
Cooperative (CoOp) Agreements and Local Improvement Districts (LID) are funding options for property owners to consider to improve gravel roads.
Privately funded road improvement projects generally involve converting gravel roads to hard-surface roads. Other improvements, such as drainage projects, may also be eligible. Property owners have three options to privately fund these projects:
- Property owner contact: One property owners serves as the point of contact between interested/impacted property owners and the County.
- Feasibility: We will develop a scope of work and prepare cost estimates based on the best available information at the time the work is scoped. It's important to note that unforeseen circumstances can affect the final cost.
- Payment: CoOp members are required to deposit the full amount of the estimate. If the actual cost of construction is less than the estimate, we will issue a refund. If the actual construction cost is higher than the assessment, an invoice will be sent to the property owner contact with the balance due.
- Ongoing maintenance: Benefiting property owners may want to form a Maintenance Local Improvement District (MLID). An MLID is a mechanism to collect revenue on an ongoing/perpetual basis for maintaining the road surfaces. We will develop a long-term maintenance strategy, including a spending plan, to determine annual rates for each property. The MLID revenue is earmarked for maintenance of a given road and is not available for any other purpose.
Local Improvement Districts (LIDs)
Creating a Local Improvement District (LID) is a formal process involving the County Board of Commissioners (BOC), staff and property owners. In general, it involves:
- Neighborhood Meeting: organized when there is significant interest in this process. The neighborhood meeting is arranged by someone in the neighborhood. We mail invitations to all property owners who would benefit from the LID. During the meeting, we explain the current road condition, recent maintenance history and an "order of magnitude" cost estimate for improvements. We will also provide detailed information about all options for privately funding a road improvement project (LID, Cooperative Agreement and Right-of-Way permit).
- Following the meeting, property owners will decide if they want to proceed with the LID. If not, the road will not be eligible for LID consideration for another five years.
- Petition: We will prepare an information sheet to accompany a petition property owners will share when gathering support for road improvement. The information sheet provides a detailed explanation about the proposed improvements, what it means to sign the petition and our contact information.
- Members of the neighborhood are responsible for acquiring signatures. At least 51% of the impacted property owners must sign the petition for the LID process to move forward. Only one signature per property is allowed, even if the property has multiple owners. Property owners who own more than one property can only sign the petition once. However, the LID payment would be based on how many properties they own.
- LID formation: Once the petition has the required number of valid signatures, approval from the BOC is required. The discussion about a LID formation occurs during a regularly scheduled BOC meeting. The process involves a public hearing on the LID (prior to a regularly scheduled BOC meeting), during which property owners can publicly testify about the proposal. Items the BOC will review include:
- Feasibility Report: We will prepare and present a feasibility report to the BOC during the public hearing. The report will include a detailed analysis of the proposed improvements, including an estimated cost per parcel.
- Cost Distribution: The per parcel costs will be developed and adopted. The most common way, as defined in the LID ordinance (WCC 3.20.180), is for the BOC to assign cost shares to each parcel based on the benefits to each parcel. Properties that benefit more may pay more than properties that benefit less. Those who own multiple properties within the district pay for each one.
- After hearing testimony, the BOC votes. If the LID is approved, then all impacted property owners are obligated to pay their share, even if they opposed the LID. The LID assessment becomes a lien on the property. If the property is sold, the balance of the lien transfers to the new owners until the entire obligation is paid.
- Construction: LID road improvement construction generally occurs in the summer and may take several weeks, depending on weather and contractor availability.
- Assessment: Following construction, we will reconcile costs and request the BOC consider the assessment to the individual parcels. Once assessments have been made, the information is shared with the Department of Assessment and Taxation (A&T), which prepares invoices and collects payments. Payment options include a lump sum (one payment in full) or a payment plan (made over ten year, with interest).
- Ongoing maintenance: After one year, we will maintain the road surface.Benefiting property owners may want to form a Maintenance Local Improvement District (MLID). An MLID is a mechanism to collect revenue on an ongoing/perpetual basis for maintaining the road surfaces. We will develop a long-term maintenance strategy, including a spending plan, to determine annual rates for each property. The MLID revenue is earmarked for maintenance of a given road and is not available for any other purpose.
For properties on Public Dedicated Roads, or Local Access Roads, only the Right-of-Way Permit option is possible.
Property owners need to obtain a Right-of-Way Permit before beginning work. For road classification information, call us at 503-846-ROAD (7623).