Q&A: Marcus Hoffman, candidate for Silverdale Water District

Editor’s note: Marcus Hoffman is running for a fourth term as a commissioner of the Silverdale Water District. His Q&A with Kitsap News Group was overlooked and didn’t make it into the Voters Guide on Oct. 13, and so it is being published here.

SILVERDALE — Marcus Hoffman is one of two candidates for the Silverdale Water District Board of Commissioners in the Nov. 7 general election. The other, Michelle Hodges, is a member of the Kitsap County Veterans Advisory Board. She did not respond to our Q&A request.

Hoffman has a B.A. in economics and political science from Colorado Mesa University, is a U.S. Air Force veteran, and a real estate broker. In addition to his service as a water district commissioner, he has served on the boards of the Washington Association of Sewer and Water Districts, and Kitsap Economic Development Alliance, and Kitsap County REALTORS.

CKR: Tell us about the Silverdale Water District. What is the annual budget, how many customers does it serve, what are its responsibilities under the law?

Hoffman: The district’s annual general budget is $5,898,275 and the capital budget this year is $892,350, for a total of $6,790,624. We serve 10,784 ERUs (equivalent residential units); we have a large percentage of commercial business and multi-family units (apartments), so the formula we use gives a number that makes sense for understanding how many people we serve.

RCW Title 57 gives the authority for a community to operate a water and/or sewer utility in a manner prescribed by Washington state law. The main duties of a commissioner is budgeting, setting policy and evaluating the manager. There is no salary; compensation is for attending each of our meetings and is set by state law.

CKR: What challenges face the district in meeting the community’s future water needs, and what solutions do you propose?

Hoffman: In my opinion, there will be no more new water rights issued in Kitsap County. We have been waiting for over 20 years for the state Department of Health to process our application for water rights, and we are still waiting. As leaders, we must plan for our growth by building a sustainable water system — a system that recycles purified water to be recharged by irrigation and in percolation basins, like our redesigned stormwater ponds which will replenish Kitsap’s underground aquifers.

Kitsap County adopted a policy of “Water as a Resource” and is planning for all of its water purification plants to treat water to a Class “A” standard so it can be reused in Kitsap. This is purple pipe. That separate purple-pipe transmission system will be used for irrigation and other beneficial uses, but not for drinking water. The new hospital and the YMCA both have a purple-pipe recycled water plumbing in their new buildings. This recycled water system will take years to completely build out, but we are building it now as joint opportunities present themselves with other utilities. We have built about 60 percent of the initial transmission main to our first customers. Silverdale will have a sustainable water system for our future.

CKR: What is the district’s financial condition? How can the district ensure it has the resources to make the infrastructure investments it must make to keep pace with demand and maintenance?

Hoffman: We have successfully bonded our large capital system improvements and half of our debt is at a half-percent interest rate. That allows us to build the necessary infrastructure and improvements to meet the future demands in our dynamic and growing community. Our excellent bond rating keeps getting better. As of 2015, Standard & Poor’s rates Silverdale Water District as A-plus. The comparative Moody’s rating would be an A1.

Ninety percent of the entire district infrastructure is newly built or has been replaced since 1980. This is not standard in most places in our state or the nation. That should tell ratepayers and voters that we are doing a superior job in planning ahead and running this district.

We save substantial funds by working in a cooperative basis with other local agencies and groups on a variety of projects. Some of the best examples of this teamwork model have been Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue, Kitsap County, Kitsap Public Utility District and a number of businesses.

CKR: At the end of your term, what would you hope to look back on as accomplishments of your service?

Hoffman: [That we built] a sustainable water system that provides all the necessary water for our growing community in a cost-effective manner while protecting our limited water resources.

CKR: Complete this sentence: “Voters should vote for me because …”

Hoffman: I have proven leadership in this industry and have spent years getting industry training and education to provide the best long-term solutions, but the reality is our professional staff run the district. Our three-person elected Board of Commissioners gives direction, ensures funding, sets rates and determines policy, but Silverdale Water District has some of the industry’s best personnel and I could not give them enough credit for their superior professionalism and dedication. I am honored to be serving here.