Mayor Ron Harding
The “Spin” coming out of City Hall in the last few days about all of the good this city has done is interesting. This is ahead of Mayor Harding’s State of the City address next month and a yet-to-be released cost to city taxpayers on the expense to them to purchase Margaret Clapp’s library “condo” for one million dollars.
While I applaud Mayor Harding and the Yelm City Council for their physical improvements to the City of Yelm, which they are touting, Mr. Harding and his staff are omitting the toll in social services going on here.
Protecting the welfare of the public was their oath and mandate when they took office.
They should be focusing on that, right?
Mayor Harding’s Column this week in the Nisqually Valley News talked up the City Council’s decisions on these laudable issues:
– balanced budget and continued service levels
– the library remaining at the current location
– new sidewalks and crosswalks
– realignment of Mossman Rd.
– upgrade to downtown well and working to deal with water issues
– a new water right granted the city
– cutting the property tax rate by 1%
– eliminating late fees on utilities and eliminating usage fees for parks
– dropping dog licensing fees
While these are all grand additions to the community, the city’s spin on these things ignore growing social issues here:
1. Median home prices continue their drop (home sales tax revenue dropping, as well)
2. Yelm taxable retail sales had a significant drop in the latest report, for the third quarter of 2011
3. City of Yelm property owners will receive utility rate hikes in 2012 of a 5.4% sewer rate increase plus an additional water rate increase of 8.25%
4. “Strategic defaults” are leading many to walk-way from their mortgages, and alot of military families are using this option, a large percentage have homes in Yelm
While the number of foreclosures are down, “the number of filings has steadily increased since 2007”
5. Yelm Community Schools has a replacement levy that will be devastating if not passed
6. SE Thurston Fire Authority has a budget issue, which may lead to service cuts by summer
7. Since their 1971 founding, Yelm Community Services has never had such a demand on their services from our community
8. Yelm property tax payers are still in the dark on the costs to them of a Yelm Library
9. The Yelm City Council voted to seize a citizen’s water rights for the city to have more water
10. The City of Yelm has a citizen’s appeal filed to block water their new rights being granted
11. The City of Yelm spent almost $300,000 in taxpayer money and lost a water case in Wa. State Supreme Court brought by JZ Knight. Seven of nine Court Justices sided with the Thurston County Superior Court and Knight.
12. The city’s restrictions on businesses, from a 50% water irrigation reduction in the summer to a signs ordinance stifle business here.
13. The City of Yelm failed to file liens for unpaid services in the hundreds of thousands of dollars when Thurston Highlands, LLC went bankrupt.
14. The increase and types of crimes here are on a dramatic upswing.
15. The Pentagon’s announced military cutbacks could trickle-down to have an impact here.
The Pierce County Business Examiner ran a City of Yelm mouthpiece Monday that was downright disgusting on what was omitted.
Harding said,. I would also like to see the city develop in a way that its attractive.
Read more from the Business Examiner.
Puleez! What does that mean?
Let’s pull the curtain back in the “Merry Old Land of Oz!”
Harding has been all about grow, grow, grow and the citizens’ number one polled issue here is traffic, which still remains and is never mentioned!
Indeed, many Yelm business owners will tell you their revenues are way down. Mayor Harding’s 1 mile partial-Bypass has stripped city business owners of impulse shoppers who would stop on the way home from work in Lacey & Olympia, as they can circumnavigate the entire business core by using the Bypass through Stevens & West Streets and 103rd to Wal-Mart Boulevard, all with barely passing a Yelm business.
I can go from Southworth Elementary School to 4 Corners via the Bypass and inner loop and not be enticed to stop in town, via traversing the Bypass, Stevens Street, West Rd. 103rd & Wal-Mart Rd. to get to the Bald Hills, for example.
– Empty retail space in Yelm a blight
City officials speak of the businesses that opened here in the aforementioned article, yet they do not tell the public of all the businesses that closed (i.e. Little Red Caboose Restaurant, venerable Yelm National Auto Parts, Anchor Bank in Wal-Mart in recent months).
Anchor Bank closing in a Super Wal-Mart is troubling enough, now Wal-Mart reports cutbacks on greeters due to cost-cutting. “Same-store sales at Wal-Mart’s namesake U.S. locations declined for nine straight quarters before snapping the streak with a 1.3% gain for the quarter ended in October,” Bloomberg says.
Yelm’s taxable sales decline is directly tied to the Wal-Mart here.
And, half of the retail space in the Nisqually Plaza Shopping Center remains empty.
– Unemployment figures were also released yesterday:
“Unemployment was higher throughout the South Sound during December, according to the latest data from the state Employment Security Department.”
“In Thurston County, the unemployment rate was 7.9 percent, compared to 7.5 percent in November.”
Read more from the Pierce County Business Examiner.
– “Thurston County budgets [including the City of Yelm] will take big hit from storms”
Read more from Matt Batcheldor in The Olympian.
I FIND UNFORTUNATE THAT MAYOR HARDING AND HIS MINIONS CAN NOT SPEAK TO THE DEPTH OF THE FULL TRUTH ON YELM ISSUES AND CONTINUE A SPIN OF MASKING REALITY FROM THEIR CONSTITUENTS!
WERE I MAYOR, I WOULD HAVE MONTHLY FORUMS TO UNITE ALL FACTIONS HERE AND SPEAK TO THE SOCIAL ISSUES IN YELM…