Yelm Public Safety Building & City Council Chambers
On April 27, 2009, the blog entry I wrote was titled:
$400,000 FOR PARK TOILETS? IS THIS NECESSARY IN TODAY’S TIMES?
As I said then,
“Now, with the $400,000 authorized by the State Legislature for new Longmire Park toilets added to the $408,800 previously appropriated by the city [for a reclaimed water line to the Park], do you think this is a good time [with a major state & county budget deficit and people getting laid off] to be spending almost $1,000,000 in taxpayer money for water and toilets at a ballpark that might get major usage just 3 months out of a year?”
At the Yelm City Council Meeting of August 11, 2009, quoting the Minutes:
“Stephanie Ray provided Scope of Work from KPG [engineering] for the design work proposed for Longmire Park Enhancement Project…design for structure for restrooms. Funding is provided by Washington State Public Works Board direct appropriation from the 2009-2010 capital budget [$400,000].
Councilmember Baker expressed concern for the public perception of funding enhancements in the midst of layoffs and tax increases. Councilmember Miller asked about the extra work for Public Works with fewer staff, however it does provide and (sic) attraction for Yelm.
Councilmembers McGowan and Thompson responded that Longmire Park is the most used park in Yelm with baseball, soccer, football and playground facilities…
Motion by Joe Baker authorizing Mayor Harding to enter into a contract with KPG Engineering…for the Longmire Park enhancement.”
Ed. Note: Whille I applaud Mr. Baker for being the ONLY Councilmember to bring up this issue, obviously Mr. Baker did NOT feel too much “concern for the public perception of funding enhancements in the midst of layoffs and tax increases” to have put forth this motion, which carried.
To compare the current city expenses of the portable toilet rentals to $400,000 in flush toilets at Longmire Park, I asked for the invoices for portable toilet rentals from the City of Yelm.
Longmire Park toilet-rental invoice
[the “Twice a Week Service to ADA Rental” is the handicapped portable toilet.]
I spoke with Half Moon Sanitation’s portable-toilet service owner and she told me that even during one of the heaviest usage weeks at Longmire the third week of August, 2009, their one handicapped & two other portable toilets were not even 1/2 used. She recommended only one handicapped toilet for 9 months of the year and adding a second portable toilet for the busy summer months. This would cut the $472 invoice by more than half.
With the cost of three portable toilets of $472 per month for the Summer of 2009, doing the math and compared to the $400,000 expense of the flush toilets, that’s 848 months or 71 years required to pay for the flush toilets at the current, summer invoice portable toilet rate.
These are dollars that could go for jobs, a new Library or the Mayor’s dream of a Recreation Center, don’t you think?
What does the city tell those 6 workers who they recently announced will be laid off —
that $400,000 was received from the State Legislature and the city accepted the money to build flush toilets – money that perhaps could have been requested to be re-appropriated for other more pressing issues, including jobs?
Where is the public-interest served in spending these kind of funds for flush toilets at Longmire Park in this economic environment?
And the NVN editor/publisher’s recent op-ed highlighted the public-interest not being served in a $10,000 severance to a Rainier High School principal.
Yet, where is he on Yelm’s financial issues, namely $400,000+ being spent for flush toilets at a city park that will only get much use 3 months a year, amidst city layoffs, a massive county budget deficit and state debt?
WHAT DO YOU SAY?