on Proposition 1
I have been reviewing the Transportation Benefit District funding “fact sheet” referencing the upcoming primary election and the continuing desire for more money that the city of Ocean Shores included in my water bill. It reads a lot like blackmail and BS to me.It is a shame that due to our bi-monthly billing schedule 1/2 of the ratepayers will receive this at the last minute or not at all in time for the election. The ballots are already here and it is widely known that most are filled out soon after being received. An unintended scenario I am sure!
I was appalled at the erroneous “facts” and the smoke and mirrors the city is trying to sell and well may be able to, given that they have given so little information as to their “plan” for using the money if they get it. Those of us who have followed the city’s bait and switch use of the last voted “dedicated” sales tax where they promised to hire a detective and other staff improvements and then bought new cars have little faith in their promises this time. The “separate account and routine auditing” promises are nothing more than the state law on budgeting and yearly auditing dressed up to look special; they are not.
The statement that the money “must be used only for transportation improvements & preservation” is true but very mis-leading. It is intended to make an uninformed person believe that it will be used for “only” actual road repair when in fact it could be legally used for anything connected to transportation. It could build a beach trail, it could pay for road equipment, it could hire a new person in the street dept. It could fund new vehicles to drive around to look at the problem. It could replace monies currently budgeted from the general fund for streets, freeing that money up to be spent on other non-street things, like more employees.
It is interesting that the fire dept. empire is already anticipating more employees, more stations and has just made the statement that it can no longer function with volunteers. It could, and very likely will, be used to continue the Pt. Brown debacle. I say likely because quite coincidentally that project was recently added to the 6 year “transportation” plan. For over 3 years and hundreds of thousands of dollars the city was unable to define a plan and build any consensus on that fiasco but now they would have a 10 year revenue stream to fritter away. That 10 year figure is the length of the tax bill; the “fact” sheet makes a point of that but fails to mention that the city council has the authority to extend it without voter approval. It also fails to mention that the city council can impose further fees for “transportation”on us without our approval.
The fact sheet references 109 problem areas but doesn’t say whether they will be fixed, or how. One glaring problem is that for 10 years the city has failed to formulate a comprehensive road repair revenue stream and still has no viable updated repair plan. They identify a need of $426k per year but only identify revenue of $220k. A reasonable assumption would be that our roads will continue to fail at a somewhat slower rate, even if 100% of the money actually is used for effective repair: history shows us that Ocean Shores never fails to tap all sources of revenue for “administrative” costs.
We should demand a plan before we fund anything. Past experience should have taught us this. Ten years ago the LID plan clearly spelled out a need from year one of $500k per year to maintain the “rebuilt” roads. The roads were not rebuilt, the problems were paved over, again. The plan was not followed; again. The true need for funding is certainly in excess of 1 million dollars a year for at least five years; the city has failed to meet its promise to the property owners for ten years and counting. Any less spent properly on road repair will only cause the roads to fail a bit more slowly. Perhaps the city is aware that by law after 20 years they can again create an LID, again without the peoples consent, and do the same thing all over again.
The “fact” sheet claims that the road repair cost $29.3 million in 2011. That is false, the true total was over $44 million with a very high interest rate! Look it up. We should vote no on this tax increase at this time and then begin to press hard for a realistic long term plan generated by experts, not local talent. Do not fall for the blue sky, smoke and mirrors your elected officials are peddling. They have had plenty of money for most of the last 10 years; they have just chosen to spend it on things like canal-front property, a Taj Mahal fire station, many new employees and other things which benefit the employees but do not protect the taxpayers investments.
It is so easy to “subsume” our money. Their “facts” are wrong! And I suspect most of them know it. This is a leadership problem, not a staff problem.
(Editor’s note: the printed edition of the North Coast News included a condensed version of the above letter. The above is the full text of Peter Jordan’s submission)
At the City Council meeting in Ocean Shores on Monday, July 23, 2018 there was an agenda amendment requested by Mayor Crystal Dingler. The amendment was an ‘emergency’ vote to hire a permit technician. When is it ever an ‘emergency’ to hire a permit technician? Why did this emergency arise and why did it need to be voted on immediately, without any discussion by the Council whatsoever?
Does this indicate a management problem within the City? Did the current permit technician suddenly quit, leaving the City understaffed at a crucial level? Of course, we do not know because no discussion was allowed by the Mayor. We also do not have minutes of the meeting posted to the City website yet, because meeting minutes are currently posted 2 months after they occur. Council recordings are also delayed by at least one month before being loaded to the website.
There are rumors that the Mayor has handpicked her replacement for Councilwoman Holly Plackett’s vacant seat. This person is a very busy developer in the city and ostensibly needs a lot of permits in a timely manner to build as many homes as possible during this dry season. Could that be the ‘emergency’? And if the Mayor handpicks her Council, how is this a representative government?
Help feed people,
I am against feeding our wildlife. I don’t understand how the 300-plus petitioners would willingly want to endanger the health of our deer and other wildlife, just for their own selfish gratification of feeding them. I want everyone to enjoy our wildlife, but please let them stay healthy.
If you have extra apples, make some pies. Better yet, if you have a desire to feed something, donate your time and money to the Ocean Shores Food Bank. You can really make a difference there, that matters.
Letters can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, or sent via the mail to Editor, North Coast News, P.O. Box 272, Ocean Shores, WA 98569