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In the almost four years that Mayor Ron Harding and most of this City Council have been at the helm of the City of Yelm, there has been a major burden that has accumulated for Yelm’s residents, property owners and taxpayers in connection with this city’s alliances with two developers, itemized as follows:

1. The city released it’s Water System Plan earlier this month revealing that City of Yelm’s water customers will foot the $1.6 million debt in-full for the Tahoma Valley Golf Course well. The owners of the Golf Course are the same two developers of Thurston Highlands and Tahoma Terra. They transferred the Golf Course water rights to the city for a credit to bring water to the city with their application for the 5,000-home development Thurston Highlands.
CLICK HERE for the details.

2. The city released it’s Water System Plan earlier this month revealing that City of Yelm asked “for financial scenarios incorporating assumptions for a new MPC [Master Planned Community – i.e. Thurston Highlands]. 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… the MPC-related CIP… for 2009… through 2028, for a combined 20-year CIP of $42.61 million ($71.54 escalated).”
CLICK HERE for the details.

3. Thurston Highlands developers Doug Bloom & Steve Chamberlain asked the city for help in funding road improvements necessitated by traffic impacts from their Tahoma Terra developments. Property owners in the impact zone of Tahoma Terra were forced to pay a City Council imposed L. I. D. covering 46% of the costs of road improvements to Yelm Ave. West, Killion & Tahoma Blvd. via mandated property taxes, or almost one-half of the cost of the road improvements, work that should have been borne totally by the developers. Now, property values are falling and these neighbors will still carry the debt load for the roadwork.
CLICK HERE for the details.

4. The same Thurston Highlands developers defaulted and left the city with an unpaid bill for services rendered under contract with the city in 2008 totaling $121,500.
CLICK HERE for the details.

5. The Thurston Highlands developers’ default left the city “holding the bag” on a $550,003 water study that was partially funded by a taxpayer-supported grant, supposedly to be repaid by the developers. The city had no contract with the developers to get repaid for the water study and used taxpayer money to look for water resources only on the developer’s private property.
CLICK HERE for the details.

6. “Thurston Highland Associates owes more than $57,200 in back property taxes, including interest and penalties, that were due last year, county records show,” from The Olympian.
CLICK HERE for details

7. The city’s October 10, 2008 Press Release said:
“The City of Yelm is pleased with Thurston County Superior Court Judge Chris Wickhams decision to deny JZ Knights request to overturn preliminary land use approvals for five separate subdivisions in the City.”
Yet, the City of Yelm appealed the judgment that involved 5 Yelm developments, one of them being Tahoma Terra. The city is spending 10’s of thousands of taxpayer dollars in legal fees appealing the Thurston County Superior Court ruling in a case in which they say they were pleased.
CLICK HERE for more details.

To quote the Nisqually Valley News of April 17, 2009:
“The city has taken the stance in recent years for growth to pay for growth, [Yelm Mayor Ron] Harding said.
The city has taken on debt and allowed new growth to pay that debt.

That has changed with the economy, growth slowing and an anti-growth environment.

‘We can no longer operate the system allowing new growth,’ Harding said.”
[Ed. Note: Mr. Harding called “anti-growth” anyone differing with his “stance in recent years for growth to pay for growth”. Now, has he seen the light that these were failed policies?
Is Mr. Harding now “anti-growth”?]

The unbridled relationship between the City of Yelm and Tahoma Terra/Thurston Highlands owners is very suspicious. However, no matter, as the City of Yelm taxpayer will get the continuing suspect policies of Mayor Harding and the City Council for 4 more years without any opposing candidates (except 2 running for Pat Fetterly’s soon-to-be-vacated Council seat), without any Town Hall Public Forums, without any public give-and-take on critical issues outside of a tightly controlled City Council public comment period and without any in-depth, hard-hitting questions from our local newspaper.


Former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura summed it up in his book “Don’t Start the Revolution Without Me” where he said,
“If you want good government, you must have an involved citizenry. Yet it seems like apathy is a contagious disease.
People don’t pay attention to government because they don’t think it affects them. Well, you work five days a week. Why wouldn’t you pay attention to an entity that’s taking the fruits of your labor two of those days?

Wouldn’t that be enough motivation to pay heed to what your tax dollars are being used for?

Today, special interests have a stranglehold on our reality. Nobody is being told the truth. We’ve bought a bill of goods. I can’t believe everyone is asleep.” (from pages 3-4)…

“It’s personal battles that got me involved in politics in the first place. I had no political intentions until I ran for Mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, in 1990. I did it because I was outraged about developers coming into the area where we lived then, aiming to make housing subdivisions out of the few remaining potato fields. Rubber-stamped by the good old boys on the city council, they demanded that our neighborhood pay for curbs, gutters and storm sewers through assessments…” (page 34)


Posted by Steve on June 22, 2009 at 5:38 am | Permalink

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One comment

  1. They ALL get voted in again — no one signed-up to oppose them.
    They don’t have to spend a cent or do anything. Just because they are on the ballot, they’re in because
    at least 500 WILL check the only box offered for each of their positions on the ballot.

    Comment by Steve on June 24, 2009 at 6:21 am

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