WHAT IS MAYOR HARDING UP TO IN HIS LATEST COLUMN IN THE NISQUALLY VALLEY NEWS?
Harding responded to the recently released Census numbers identifying Yelm with a 108% population increase in ten years, more than doubling population and dubbing Yelm “Thurston Countys fastest-growing city”:
“I know some will look at these numbers [the population growth doubling here in the last 10 years] and think that our population growth is a bad thing, considering more traffic, larger schools, increased service demands and cost. This may be true, but a growing population also provides the ability to build new roads, schools and provide services not currently available.
Obviously, Mr. Harding has had no Economics classes for him to say that growth is the way to finance roads, schools & services – through fees & taxes.
At some point, the growth will stop due to size and then where will the city be in garnering revenue?
Harding would have learned that had he taken Economics 101.
The City of Yelm is nearly topped-out on growth now, reaching capacity of water resources and having to tax property owners with the city’s annual, hefty water rate increases through 2015, sewer rate increases through 2013, B & O tax increases, an annual 1% property tax increase, and 50% mandatory irrigation cutbacks on our local businesses, so the city can use the water savings to petition Health for more hook-ups to add to the city’s water system.
Mr. Harding went on to say in his column:
“Today, Yelm is experiencing little growth. Unfortunately, that lack of growth has a negative effect on residents and businesses alike…
We want to be progressive; we want housing values to increase; we want job growth and the ability to access services here locally rather than traveling to surrounding areas. What we must strive for is to accommodate and encourage growth in a controlled and well-planned environment.”
After years of me and others being called “anti-growth” by Mayor Harding and city officials when we suggested the city control and plan here in-step with the environment, Mayor Harding finally writes in his column this week:
“What we must strive for is to accommodate and encourage growth in a controlled and well-planned environment.”
I do not buy it!
Has Mr. Harding all of the sudden changed his coats to be a “smart-growth” advocate?
I don’t see evidence of such – not while he still attempts to get water by seizing a private citizen’s water rights, pursuing the SW Well Area and develop the former Thurston Highlands site, or cutting back businesses’ irrigation to get credit for more permits for water-system hook-ups.
Mr. Harding, 6 years ago and up to today when I brought the ideas before you and the City Council to “encourage growth in a controlled and well-planned environment,” you said of me publicly and in your column I and others were “anti-growth”. That was far from the truth, as you now attest!
Well, yesterday when the Nisqually Valley News closed their question of the week:
“Yelm’s population doubled from 2000 to 2010. How do you feel about this growth?”
49% responded they DON’T LIKE
with the other 51% split between LIKE & DON’T KNOW
That speaks volumes!
As do all of the things you mentioned as a result of this Council’s ten+ years of growth policies:
more crime & “more traffic, larger schools, increased service demands and cost.”
AS MAYOR & CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PRESIDENT, MAYOR HARDING [IN AND OF ITSELF A CONFLICT-OF-INTEREST] CAN TOUT:
WELCOME TO YELM – THURSTON COUNTY’S FASTEST GROWING CITY!