Master Plan for Yelm City Park costing $5.7 million
CURRENT YELM PARK PLAN OMITS:
1. PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT
2. PUBLIC TOWN HALL GIVE-AND-TAKE
3. PUBLIC’S OPINION ON PARK PLAN TAXES
4. PUBLIC PROCESS
As I read the Nisqually Valley News [NVN] on Friday, May 17, I noted the bottom of page A-3 that Mayor Ron Harding is taking time-off from his full-time Thurston County Deputy Auditor “day job” to drive back to Yelm to speak to local groups about the Yelm Park Plan, a plan costing approximately $5.7 million. The public was omitted in any discussion of this plan being added to the ballot, yet Harding is courting local groups for support?
[Does Harding get reimbursed by taxpayers to drive from his County Auditor day-job in Olympia to address Yelm groups as Mayor? Hmmm.]
I am very concerned that Mayor Ron Harding omits the public-at-large from full-disclosure of the whole story about the Yelm City Park Levy, now on the August 6, 2013 ballot, as I read in the newspaper he is speaking to the Yelm Rotary Club, the Yelm Lions Club, and the Yelm Real Estate Association with his spin.
This IS Harding’s modus-operandi – instead of a Public Forum, he gives speeches to controlled groups, with most members not even living in Yelm nor eligible to vote on a City of Yelm Levy and whose group members rarely pose challenging questions. This way, the mayor can say he communicated on the Park Levy, yet without his ACTUAL voters engaged in public discourse, behavior his City Council condones!
I would hope that the Rotary Club and other groups would be interested in providing the “alternate view” of Mayor Harding’s spin on the Yelm Park Levy, commonly done after all Presidential speeches, as example, to provide balance rather than a one-sided view from the top official.
There is a sense of unease on how the cuts will affect Yelmites.
Residents are hurting here and will vote to pay an AVERAGE additional $110 per year for 25 years on top of annual water rate increases, annual sewer rate increases, regular B & O tax increases & ad valorem tax increases. With over 30% of our population comprising military families and Sequestration cuts to trickle-down here by Fall, this tax puts a tremendous burden on Yelm residents.
Even the NVN online poll published on this was over 3-1 against. Everyone wants park improvements, however when taxpayers understand this hits them in the wallet, they say a resounding NO!
Let me be clear: I AM IN FAVOR OF A PARK OVERHAUL!
However, I am in favor of public involvement at the grass roots level on this issue and for any tax levy.
That was lacking in this Park Plan.
When this Levy is voted down August 6, 2013, then the public MUST be involved on all aspects of the next Yelm City Park overhaul:
– Reintroduce the Park Plan concept with public interaction from the start (i. e. Town Hall Forums).
– Public participation on the Park Plan’s ad hoc committee, rather than just city officials.
– Public disclosure on ALL Park Plans reviewed, not just saying on page 22 of the current Plan, “this is the preferred plan.”
I AM FOR FULL PUBLIC DISCLOSURE AND PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT IN EVERY ASPECT OF THE PROCESS, WHEN TAXES ARE TO BE BORNE BY THE LOCAL RESIDENTS, SOMETHING THIS CITY COUNCIL HAS YET TO LEARN AFTER THEIR DISASTROUS 2005 WAL-MART DEBACLE, RESULTING IN THEIR BEING BEING THE RECIPIENT OF THE EGREGIOUS 2006 JEFFERSON MUZZLE AWARD!