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Last year at the Nisqually Valley Home Show, a sweet & caring Chamber of Commerce official asked to sit down with my wife & me as we enjoyed a hot dog. He said to me,
“You don’t always have to sleuth looking for the bad things here.”

I replied to him,
“Why are there so many things that are so glaring and just look bad here:
– appearance of conflict of interests (Thurston Highlands default leaving the city mired in unpaid taxes & bills)
– City Hall’s missteps the public has to bear (i.e city’s water allocation, huge legal bills to seize a family’s water rights)
– lack of anything done on a public library for almost 10 years
– and 4 years of other issues, as reported on this Blog.
One does not have to sleuth, as all of this is here right before our eyes, for those that want to see!

If no one speaks up for change, then all of Yelm’s dirty little secrets will stay buried under a bulging carpet.
Is that what this community wants? I asked.”

As Yelm Community Blog readers know, in this economic environment, I have thought unwise for the city to ask the state for a $400,000 grant for flush toilets at a city park that is mostly used in Summer & some Spring & Autumn weekends. Certainly the porta-toilets were sufficiently serving our ballpark’s needs well. To shove aside the city’s stated needs for a public library facility & the Mayor’s dream of a Community Recreation Center in favor of 1/2 million dollars being spent for 6 flush toilets, 2 ADA toilet stalls & a small concession stand is, well, misguided at best, in my view.

Do you think balancing this state’s $2.6+ billion budget deficit by cutting services to the elderly, infirmed, unemployed, etc. and asking for a state grant to build Yelm’s flushing park toilets is a wise move?

Does everyone want this shoved under the carpet?

Mayor Harding gave a glowing report in his February 9th State of the City address touting these toilets did not cost the city a dime. Now Mayor Harding had to have known about the cost increases out of the city’s pocket then. Why didn’t he mention that?
Further, he has been in the NVN three times in recent weeks about Longmire Park’s flushing toilets, two with pictures.

Now the dirty little facts start to come to light quoting the NVN this week:
1. “The lowest bid came back at $349,000, roughly $28,000 over the estimated cost.”

2. “The project still has construction engineering costs to cover as well.”

3. “Cost was a little higher…because the city went with energy saving details including solar tubing to reduce long-term energy costs and electric hand dryers to reduce waste.”
Ed. Note: While laudable, these expenses were added after the grant request & with a state budget shortfall, forcing the city to pay, while 6 city staff positions & one police position elimination provided service reductions to the public, using those funds to pay for electric hand dryers. HMMM!

4. “Council approved covering the remaining costs ($45,000) with funding from a Community Block Grant.”

5. The costs do not include additional required purchases of kitchen appliances for the concession stand, according to the city’s own Staff Report.”

The costs per toilet for each of the 8 flushers is approaching $60,000 each (including a small concession stand).
Jeepers! What do you think about that?

Stay tuned, the bottom to this money pit has yet to be fathomed!

Posted by Steve on March 1, 2010 at 5:01 am | Permalink

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