Both The Olympian and the Nisqually Valley News ran the Thurston Highlands story in their editions out today, which was first brought to public light by the Yelm Community Blog last week.
Interesting that both the NVN & The Olympian chose NOT to report that the City of Yelm used taxpayer money to fund a private developer’s water study, which caught several people’s eyes, including a State Representative, who also wrote the WA. State Auditor & Attorney General requesting they look into that issue. HMMM!
Here is my letter to Yelm City Administrator Badger about her ridiculous comments in the NVN today:
Dear City Administrator Badger,
While I find most unfortunate that the Nisqually Valley News (NVN) chose not to share with their readers the City of Yelm never had a contract with the Thurston Highlands developers to get repaid for the city funding a private developer’s water study, I find even more disturbing your misleading answers to serious water issue questions.
Your comment in the NVN’s print edition out May 15th is just one example:
“Badger said the city needed to conduct the study regardless of the master planned community.
While the water study will impact the Highlands, the study was needed for the development of the city as a whole.”
Mrs. Badger, the Golder Water Study the City Council authorized for Thurston Highlands had only one purpose and that was to find water for a private developer to locate water on their private (not city owned/controlled) land and bring to the city with their 3 applications. As a matter of public policy, developers are supposed to pay for their impacts up front, just like schools, roads, traffic and water. However, the public has paid instead with Thurston Highlands because the city funded the water study up front and has maintained they will be reimbursed by impact fees from building permits in the development as outlined in the EIS or as the City Staff Report in 2006 said, “Through the Conceptual Master Plan process for the Thurston Highlands community, there will be a determination on the pro-rata share of private financial participation towards this project. The Conceptual Master Plan process is on hold, the developers are now gone and left the city with 2/3 of a million dollars the taxpayers will have to swallow, unless the developers somehow cure their $12.5 million default.
Developers are supposed to present all aspects of their project to the city, not the city to the developer. The Mayor, Community Development Dept., City Council and you Mrs. Badger lost sight of that 2 1/2 years ago when I asked you then about a contract with the developer for this water study. Nothing was done and now that decision has come home to roost!
Then you say, “Some ideas the city is looking at rather than charge the developers a lump sum is tacking on an additional charge for every water hook-up.”
Mrs. Badger, even if Thurston Highlands cures the default and moves forward, how are any homes really going to be built out there to pay back the debt via water hook-ups. In this economic environment, getting bank credit for new home building now requires stellar credit qualifications that few have, as demonstrated recently by mounting foreclosures, falling home sales and dropping home values. Your idea for the city to repaid via water hook-ups rests on shifting sands!
Subterfuge continues to be the city’s policy of the day.
The fact that the city did not have a contract with a private developer and used taxpayer money for a water study on private land has been turned over to the Washington State Attorney General & Auditor’s Offices requesting an investigation into these and other city practices.
I own land in Yelm.
Would the city fund a water study on my private land without a contract?
Or for anyone else?
Your first responsibility is to protect your community and constituents from any harm, which you did not do!
Mayor Ron Harding accepts Chamber’s Citizen of the Year Award
MAYOR RON HARDING
Mayor Ron Harding received the Citizen of the Year honor from the Yelm Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, May 12. Quoting the NVN,
“While Harding said he is humbled by the honor, he says he wishes someone else was being recognize (sic).
He even tried to step aside.”
[Ed. Note: One does not try to step aside; they either step aside or they don’t, period!]
“I’m not sure if the mayor is suppose (sic) to be Citizen of the Year, but I’ll accept it,” Harding said.
[Ed. note: I am sure, as I wrote on May 12th. Why didn’t he just not accept the award when asked, if he really wanted to step aside? HMMM!]
Yelm Chamber’s Executive Director Cecelia Jenkins told the NVN,
“One of the reasons Harding stands out, Jenkins said, is because of the volunteer hours he put into remodeling the new Yelm Historical Museum.”
That is laudable, however to help clarify, a mayor’s duty and indeed, responsibility is to serve his community. The reward is in re-electing him to office. There were others that deserve praise and this award, as well!
The Mayor’s first responsibility is to protect our community and constituents from any harm, which he did not do, tarnishing this award!
IS EVERYTHING JUST SOME KIND OF GAME WITH OUR CITY OFFICIALS?