The number one responsibility of elected officials and their staffs of our municipalities is to protect and serve the constituents in their communities – looking out for their interests. Sure, being honored as Citizen of the Year, Best Community Volunteer, or Best Elected/Appointed official is a wonderful acknowledgment for all of the service to the town.
That doesn’t quite equate to the “protecting” part of job. Yelm residents & especially tax-paying property owners should be holding City of Yelm officials’ feet to the fire on two key questions as to why this Mayor, City Council and their Staff have not protected the interests of their own people with two simple questions, also published in the NVN, Dec. 11th under their title “Where is the accountability in government?”:
1. HIGHLANDS DEFAULT LEFT UNPAID TAXES & FEES
Why has the City of Yelm NOT filed liens against Thurston Highlands, LLC. to attempt to recoup owed back-taxes and contractual fees for citizens after the Highlands’ Fall, 2008 default, totaling in the hundreds of thousands of dollars?
I am also a City of Yelm property owner and posed this question City Administrator Shelly Badger. After an e-mail exchange, she has not answered this question. Her lack of a response IS the answer in and of itself. This IS the 1,000 pound elephant in the room the city does not want addressed!
That city officials do not like me or my question does not matter, nor is the issue.
Where is the common decency in working on your citizens’ behalf to protect their tax money?
All of the community-volunteering acknowledgments pale next the lack of aggressiveness on this matter!
If Mrs. Badger provides a response, I will pass on to you.
2. WATER RATE INCREASE
Why has the City of Yelm raised water rates 69% on their residents, as outlined in the city’s Draft Water System Plan, when that plan has not been approved?
How can city officials pass on water rate increases to its residents for a Water Plan that involves expenses for a major Multi-Planned Community (MPC) when that MPC has defaulted and is out of the picture is just one question that has never been answered? And, the plan has not been approved and may not be viable.
Another 1,000 pound elephant in the room the city does not want addressed!
UPDATE: Dec. 8th, 8pm
The Yelm City Council authorized spending $37,000 tonight to craft a response from a Dept. of Health letter to the city dated October 20, 2009 regarding the Water System Plan & provide additional “analysis regarding the city’s water portfolio in light of the recent denial of the McMonigle water right.”
Ed. Note: Will that be all [$37,000]? Probably not!
Further, regarding the 2010 Sewer Rates on the City Council Docket tonight:
Grant Beck gave the Staff Report on the record saying that due to his heavy work load, the city’s 2009 Sewer Rate Plan has not been updated, so was asking Council to carry-forward the 2009 rates into 2010 and eliminate the deposit.
That was interesting and what especially caught my ear was a follow-up warning to Council on this from City Administrator Badger, who said that if the Budget Committee finds the City’s Budget is not on their targets in the 1st quarter of 2010, Staff will be coming back to ask for a COLA [Cost of Living Adjustment] rate increase for Sewer Rates, as the city will not have their 2009 Sewer Plan done until the latter part of 2010.
I wrote in the NVN last week that I knew the city was going to have 2010 budget issues & Badger basically gave that warning last night to Council, on the record.
I encourage you to write to City officials and ask them these 2 simple questions.
Send me the answers you get & I will publish them here.
Mayor Ron Harding = firstname.lastname@example.org
City Administrator Shelly Badger = email@example.com
City Community Development Director Grant Beck = firstname.lastname@example.org
ALL YELM RESIDENTS SHOULD DEMAND ANSWERS FROM THEIR CITY’S LEADERS!