Yelm resident Eran Ben-Sira addressed the Yelm City Council during the Public Comment period last Tuesday, May 11th and quoted Rep. Jim McCune’s flier sent to all Legislative District 2 constituents.
He said he went to the Yelm Town Hall April 30th and asked Rep, McCune about the $400,000 allocated by the state for 8 flush toilets at Yelm’s Longmire Park amidst a state budget crisis.
McCune was quoted in his newsletter as follows,
“I agree with the sentiments of those who want government to live within its means and be more accountable. This is what I will continue to advocate for in the Legislature.
Projects for the 2nd District
Longmire Community Park. This park offers walking trails, a new playground set and ball fields. It is a centerpiece for our Yelm community and brings families together for activities.”
Mr. Ben-Sira said he told Rep. McCune he found nothing responsible about allocating $400,000 for 8 flush toilets & a small concession stand at Yelm’s Longmire Park when this state needs to reign-in excessive expenditures. McCune told Ben-Sira the City of Yelm originated the request for the toilet monies & he worked to fulfill that expenditure.
So, Ben-Sira asked Yelm’s City Council why they went to our State Representatives requesting $400,000 for flush toilets, a “luxury” in economic times such as this. Sitting in for Mayor Harding, Mayor Pro-tem Isom stated those funds were allocated by the state & could only be used for parks, and if Yelm did not accept the monies, some other jurisdiction would do so instead.
[Ed. Note: Mr. Isom was not entirely correct, as stated by Rep. McCune in his Newsletter:
“The capital budget provides funding for the construction and repair of public buildings and other long-term investments, such as land acquisitions and transfers. It is separate from the operating budget…
Would a Yelm Public Library Building be a better use of funds? ]
Mr. Ben-Sira then asked about how funding cost overruns for toilet construction was handled. Council member McGowan answered the city picked-up the tab for what he thought was a $60,000 cost overrun.
Ed Note: “Council approved covering the remaining [net] costs ($45,000) with funding from a Community Block Grant,” as reported here previously.
At that point, McGowan grilled Ben-Sira asking if he had ever been to the park and had he ever seen children required to use porta-potties? Did Ben-Sira not think this area deserved to have recreation facilities?
Ben-Sira countered there would be maintenance & upkeep costs for flush toilets and they would have to be shut down in winter to keep the pipes from freezing, all labor intensive.
He said that he had not been to the park.
He also stated there was an unfilled police position and alot of other areas deserving monetary attention over and above installation of flush toilets. Mr. Isom concluded the interaction.
Mr. McGowan’s furled brow, the scowl on his face and shaking his head in noticeable disgust as Mr. Ben-Sira sat down was consistent with this Council’s demonstrative antagonism & behavior towards public discourse & the public process throughout the past decade.
Ed. Note: Whether Mr. Ben-Sira had been to the park or not is irrelevant.
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, not including annual maintenance costs for the flush toilets..
CLICK HERE for the video to the Council session & the exchange from 00:08:00 – 11.25:00.
Before closing the Council session, Mr. Isom reported he attended a presentation of the LOTT Alliance and he reported:
“The Department of Ecology is messing with the regulations for reclaimed water & there are some great concerns about what the outcome is going to be.”
The Department of Ecology released the Draft of Reclaimed Water Rules on May 12, 2010.
CLICK HERE to access.