After this writer’s presentation to the City Council on June 9th, 2009, City of Yelm Project and Program Manager Stephanie Ray responded to my comments in Council Chambers that the purpose of the Water Rate Increase was to meet debt service obligations and will be solely used to keep Fund 401 in-status.
Council Member John Thompson asked what Fund 401 was.
Ms. Ray said this is an operational and maintenance fund.
Now we know why Ms. Ray did not answer my e-mail nor would the Mayor permit me to respond to her comment in Council Chambers about this debt issue she mentioned! They did not want the public (or Council) to know about the debt servicing foisted on Yelm tax payers. However, the city finally posted the Draft Water System Plan on the city’s website with a March 23, 2009 posting date, when the Draft Water System Plan was only made available there in June. HMMM!
So, here is one aspect of the city’s debt, quoting directly from just-released Draft Water System Plan Chapter 9, page 13:
“The initial rate increases are required to cover the existing levels of O&M expenses, while the following increases are there to support new debt service associated with the capital program…
After the completion of the technical analysis and presentation of the rate recommendations to the City Council and the public [when was that? at the Open Houses? the Open Houses did NOT present the Draft Water System Plan to the public, as the Plan was not released until June!] new capital information was presented to the City. The Golf Course Well project, previously assumed to be fully developer-constructed and then turned over to the City, is now required to be 100 percent City-funded. The Golf Course Well project total cost is estimated to be $1.6 million. In order to move forward with the project, the City will be applying for an RD low-interest loan, with estimated terms of 3.75 percent interest over 40 years. The new capital and debt costs have been incorporated into the analysis.
In order for the City to absorb these costs with the recommended rates unchanged, the City must delay all other capital projects by 1 year.”
WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?
IF YOU ARE A PROPERTY OWNER IN THE CITY OF YELM, YOU ARE PAYING FOR THE GOLF COURSE WELL DEBT THE CITY TOOK ON WHEN THURSTON HIGHLANDS DEVELOPERS (AND GOLF COURSE OWNERS) TRANSFERRED THEIR WATER RIGHTS TO THE CITY.
THIS SAYS IT ALL,
“The Golf Course Well project, previously assumed to be fully developer-constructed and then turned over to the City, is now required to be 100 percent City-funded. The Golf Course Well project total cost is estimated to be $1.6 million.”
Remember, as reported here last month: Thurston Highlands developers are in default and owe the City of Yelm taxpayers multi-hundreds of thousands of dollars!
And now this additional $1.6 million debt, too!
And you are going to put back in office those running unopposed for re-election to City seats!?
Mayor Ron Harding and Council Members Bob Isom, Mike McGowan, and Russ Hendrickson; who permitted this debt on their watch?
And from the same page of the Water System Plan:
“During the financial analysis process, the City requested several additional financial scenarios incorporating assumptions for a new MPC [Master Planned Community]. The scenarios assumed additional growth of new customers, with additional operating and capital costs that were in addition to the capital improvement projects [CIP] listed in the previous sections. Not including annual system reinvestment project costs, the MPC-related CIP was approximately $20.65 million in 2009 dollars ($25.36 million escalated) for 2009 through 2015, and $21.96 million ($46.18 million escalated) for 2016 through 2028, for a combined 20-year CIP of $42.61 million ($71.54 escalated).”
$71.54 million for the MPC [Thurston Highlands Master Planned Community] CIP (capital improvement projects).
Oh, gee, how nice the city is looking to finance capital improvement projects for “a new MPC” after the 6-year planning period (see new debt service growth in 2015).
FOLKS, YOU ARE GETTING SOAKED HERE, AND BEHIND YOUR BACKS WHILE YOU WEREN’T LOOKING – PUN INTENDED.
THIS IS FROM YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS, OUR CITY’S OFFICIALS!
THIS IS YOUR CITY FOLKS!
WHY THERE ISN’T A PROTEST MARCH ON YELM CITY HALL IS BEYOND ME!
WHERE ARE THE TWO NEW COUNCIL CANDIDATES’ VOICES;
WHERE DO COUNCIL CANDIDATES JENNIFER LITTLEFIELD & TRACEY WOOD STAND ON THIS ISSUE?
NEITHER OF THEM HAS RETURNED MY E-MAIL REQUESTS OR PHONE CALLS!
HOW LONG IS SILENCE GOING TO BE THE MANTRA HERE?
HOW LONG WILL THIS ALL BE IGNORED BY THE NISQUALLY VALLEY NEWS?
[Ed. Note: After all, this newspaper is the first to publish front-page reports and editorials on their perceptions of malfeasance by the Cities of Rainier & Roy. Why does the City of Yelm get a bye?
And, the NVN’s publisher/editor has said several times in his Op-Eds he no longer resides in Yelm, therefore is not affected by city policies at his new residence? HMMM!]
HOW LONG BEFORE THE CITY OF YELM PROPERTY OWNERS WAKE UP TO BEING FLEECED?
THEY WILL SOON SEE THEIR TAX AND WATER BILLS RATE HIKES!
IT’S TOO LATE!
Yelm City’s Water Ad in NVN is to sell the public on the water rate Increase, however conveniently left out anything about the debt servicing, mentioned by Ms. Ray last week!