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With the Thurston Highlands Draft EIS now out and available for public comment, this writer again brings up the subject of how the City of Yelm can be involved to pay for this draft EIS.

After all, Thurston Highlands is a private development and taxpayer monies were used to fund a private water study that formed the basis of this draft EIS.

The City of Yelm has been “called on the carpet” by the State for previously for using tax monies to fund private payments;
most recently when the city was collecting a hotel tax to fund the Prairie Museum’s rent in a private building, when tax monies are to go for payments for the museum to operate in a public building.
This issue was covered here on December 1, 2007.

Regarding the water study, the Yelm Community blog previously asked the city about funding the Thurston Highlands water study that became a front page story for the NVN. That story is here from February 3, 2007.

Again, using taxpayer monies to fund a private development’s water study for an EIS is an unauthorized use of taxpayer funds, because there is no recourse – there is no agreement on how/what the city is to be repaid.

From what City Administrator Badger said, we know:
“The City of Yelm has no contract, pro-rata or otherwise with the Thurston Highlands Associates for the SW Aquifer study. An agreement with the City of Yelm granting access to the property is not a binding contract telling the citizens of Yelm what share Thurston Highlands associates will pay for the $550,003 to date. Further, nothing binds Thurston Highlands Associates to pay anything, until after their EIS is underway.”

And, Mayor Harding told a lady at the City Council last year that she could not divide her property for an additional home because city policy is that “development must bring water to the table.” This lady was just short of the required water rights and her application was denied by the council.
So, why did the city accept the Thurston Highlands’ application prior to their owners providing water????

The City of Yelm is a defacto proponent of the Thurston Highlands development for accepting the application without the developers first providing water, which means the city has a conflict of interest in this case.


Posted by Steve on June 26, 2008 at 6:50 am | Permalink

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