ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED HERE SATURDAY, APRIL 17, 2010.
In Friday’s edition of the Nisqually Valley News [April 16], Yelm Mayor Ron Harding was quoted in a front-page story titled:
“Yelm going digging for additional water”
where he said:
“‘The property the well is being drilled on is currently owned by developers, but within its master plan is an agreement to gift the property to the city.’
Yelm Mayor Ron Harding said if for whatever reason those plans don’t move forward, the city can always condemn the property.”
On April 13th, the Yelm City Council approved a $615,223 expenditure to dig a test/production well, which is on Tahoma Terra property.
Ed. Note: This is one of the contributing factors to a 32% water rate increase in the last 9 months.
The property’s deed where SW Yelm Well #2 is located shows Thurston Highlands, LLC as the owners and is located within the unfinished phases of Tahoma Terra, having been in foreclosure since the developers defaulted, as reported in The Olympian.
City Administrator Shelly Badger responded on-the-record to Council member Thompson’s question [April 10] about his understanding that SW Yelm Well #2 was located on city-owned land, where she said:
“We also, in addition to that, have approval from the property owner to conduct the drilling activity. But ultimately, yes, it is owned by the city. ”
THESE QUESTIONS ARE GLARING:
– How can Mrs. Badger tell Council member Thompson the city owns this land? HMMM! Did she lie on-record?
– How can the developers gift the property for the well to the city if they are in default & going to auction, according to Mayor Harding’s assertion?
– Is the city looking to buy or has an agreement been consummated for the parcel, at auction?
– Is this the “real estate acquisition” issue being discussed in the City Council’s Executive Session & away from the public the last few months?
– What if water is not found after spending 2/3 of a million dollars at the Tahoma Terra site?
– The mayor said the property is still owned by developers, however the land is in default & was scheduled for auction and Mrs. Badger says the land is owned by the city. So, what IS the truth?
Additionally, the city has been notified by the Dept. of Ecology they over-pumped their 2009 water allocation, so the city is looking for more water rights and implementing a mandatory 50% irrigation cutback on local commercial property owners.
Mayor Ron Harding & the city have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars condemning another citizen’s water rights last year, which they still do not own!
The City of Yelm has had an expired Water System Plan (WSP) for almost a year and a half, resulting in a Yellow Operating Permit from the Dept. of Health. The city is supposed to update their 6-year WSP every six years. Their draft Water System Plan has yet to be approved by the Depts. of Health & Ecology.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE MAYOR’S COMMENT & CITY’S ACTIONS TO CONDEMN PRIVATE PROPERTY FOR WATER RIGHTS?
ISN’T THIS AN ABUSE OF THE INTENT OF EMINENT DOMAIN LAWS?