Public Safety Building housing Council Chambers, Yelm
The Yelm City Council Agenda Agenda for this evening has several items that require thorough questions from the Councilors prior to approving.
– From the City of Yelm City Council Agenda:
* Yelm Chamber Contract for Services 2016 – From the Staff Report
“The City Council agreed to continue funding for the Yelm Area Chamber of Commerce for the tourism-related services they provide to the Yelm residents and businesses.
[includes] research and prepare tourist-related materials promoting the City of Yelm; produce the 2016 map; organize, sponsor, administer and advertise community events that draw attendees from outside the Yelm area, such as Yelm Prairie Days and the Home and Garden Show, and provide space for a display and information booth at various events at the CITY’S request.”
With the shift in focus of the Yelm Chamber of Commerce to more supporting local businesses, as thoroughly outlined in Chamber Forums and the current Nisqually Valley News, the City Council needs a detailed report from the Yelm Chamber on exactly how the city’s annual $7,500 contribution will be expended in tourism-related services, rather than just the usual, annual approval without discussion. I was told by a Chamber official last summer that the Chamber is no longer involved in administering Prairie Days. We have seen little from the Chamber supporting tourism to Yelm, such as these examples: a tie-in with the county’s Agritourism and Bountiful Byway routes, and this summer’s coming Nisqually Tribe’s Paddle to Nisqually event, The Triad Theater’s unique programs that draw visitors to Yelm, or a Yelm Farmer’s Market promotion to southern Pierce and Thurston County towns.
After much discussion at the last session, the Council authorized $6,600 to obtain a long-overdue additional, yet used undercover patrol vehicle for the Police Dept.
Shouldn’t a $7,500 expenditure for producing a Chamber map to promote tourism be thoroughly investigated as well? That’s the value of another police vehicle!
* More money requested for the Community Center
Why is this costing so much more than the original plans?
Was it because Mr. Harding became the acting Projects Manager and acting City Administrator when the city lost these two key and valuable employees during crucial phases of city projects, like the Community Center?
A worthy question since, as discussed here previously, Mayor Harding does not have the training, experience, expertise, or the authority to be the acting Projects Manager and acting City Administrator.
While the Yelm Community Center now requires the Council to authorize $284,000 to complete, with the construction budget including $141,931 of unspent expenditure authority, Mr. Harding’s sides-stepping the issue of the construction delays was, at the very least, troubling. This was underscored in a high-profile, front-page story in this week’s Nisqually Valley News:
“The contractor took longer to complete the project than expected. Yelm Mayor Ron Harding wouldn’t comment on why exactly the contractor experienced delays.
‘I won’t comment on what’s going on with the contractor, but they took longer than the original contract,’ he said.”
That sounds like Mayor Harding’s usual “Doublespeak” where the city may be at fault here.
The Yelm City Council needs to ask some in-depth questions tonight for the benefit of their constituents.
Blogger Klein is a member of the Yelm Chamber of Commerce.