- Editor’s note: The City of Yelm has many issues in closing out 2019, however three stories will dominate this town’s budget in 2020.
- Current lack of water rights plus Public Works infrastructure challenges are major issues. Of course, the question remains as to how a decrepit sewer infrastructure can handle the current load plus additional approved hook-ups, hence the need for a required Public Works triage fund.
- The city will have to put up alot of personnel time in handling the disposition of 640 acres and funding $1.1 million in L. I. D. debt if they end up acquiring them as a result of the mayor’s unauthorized contract for a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure.
- Putting our heads in the sand and thinking these will go away or the council “kicking the can down the road” and not making those difficult decisions, is not responsible to serve this city’s future!
- Steve Klein, Yelm Community Blog host
Yelm’s Public Works infrastructure is under duress from a decade of major deferred maintenance and system upgrades
Former Public Works Director Chad Bedlington notified the Yelm city council last summer that Public Works required $27 million for maintenance upgrades. The council keeps postponing funding decisions. So City Administrator Michael Graham requested the council to consider a $350,000 triage fund to cover eventual emergencies in the water/sewer systems. Bedlington’s sudden “resignation” effective October 1st was very untimely – Yelm is currently operating with an interim director on contract from an executive talent agency and expected to seek a permanent replacement in the first quarter of 2019. Yelm residents need to brace for certain and major water/sewer rate increases. Read full details, Click here
Yelm is about out of water hook-up availability
On December 16, 2019, the Nisqually Valley News said city associate planner Tami Merriman, reported there were 208 hook-ups left last summer and with 2 recently approved developments, that leaves 113 remaining until Yelm gets more water rights. (208 minus 57 for Wyndstone Apts. + 75 for Nisqually Landing = 113 remaining). Yelm is effectively nearly out of hook-ups entering 2020. This is an important issue since former Mayor Ron Harding began his growth policy here in 2005, followed by Mayor Foster in 2016, the city has relied solely on issuing building permits and property taxes for the vast majority of their revenue (which would be such a policy instituted only from limited leaders who did not earn a business or economics degree). Read more
Yet another Yelm development is awaiting more water rights to build. Read more
Yelm set to own 640 acres plus $1.1 million in L. I. D. debt! City set to discuss land sale options in Executive Session
Covered here many times previously is the fact that Mayor Foster signed a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure with a Yelm landowner on December 29, 2017, without council’s approval, without notifying the council, and against the Yelm Municipal Code and the RCW, which limits him authorizing expenditures up to $35,000, where anything over that amount requires council approval. If the landowner did not pay the tax debt on this parcel by December 31, 2019, the property and L. I. D. debt of approx. $1.1 million will be the city’s responsibility. The city council was told if this occurs, there will be an Executive Session to discuss this real estate matter. Clearly, the city had heard nothing from the landowner at their last council session of the year and opportunities for the city to recoup the sale of the land have been swirling in the public domain, regardless of the mayor’s denial at the December 10th council session. Read more about this land and L. I. D. debt from City Administrator Grayum’s letter to the council.