- Editor’s note: The council’s incomplete L.I.D. briefing last Tuesday necessitated I send a letter to the council to provide them the history of this story I have followed for 15+ years. My letter is below.
- Story highlights: The evasive answers to my L.I.D. questions required I finally submit a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request last April for the L.I.D.’s official financial documents. This is really very simple to understand if only the council would have received the document here.
- The city officially became the land’s title holder and responsible for the note on January 3, 2020. The current balance the city owes is a total of $2,194,320 million dollars.
- On Tuesday, the city council was encouraged by the city administrator to consider using the American Rescue Plan Act Funds to pay off the L.I.D. debt. Hopefully, the council will seek public input on what to do with those funds.
Dear Yelm City Council members,
I am writing to correct some statements made at the Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021 council session.
1. The Killion L. l. D. was approved by the Yelm city council on June 14, 2006, not around the year 2000.
2. The statement made by Finance Director Dice that everybody agreed with the L. I. D. is false.
I know because I commented with others on this travesty at the public hearing on May 24, 2006.
[Thurston Highlands developers Doug Bloom & Steve Chamberlain asked the city for help in funding road improvements necessitated by traffic impacts from their Tahoma Terra developments. Property owners in the impact zone of Tahoma Terra were forced to pay a City Council imposed L. I. D. covering 46% of the costs of road improvements to Yelm Ave. West, Killion & Tahoma Blvd. via mandated property taxes, or almost one-half of the cost of the road improvements, work that should have been borne totally by the developers. They defaulted in Autumn 2008, and subsequently went bankrupt. Click here]
Only the Thurston Highlands/Tahoma Terra developers, and Thurston EDC President Michael Edwards, Twin County Credit Union reps., and the Yelm School superintendent were in favor of this project.
There was much consternation and frustration from citizens, especially between property owners and these other stakeholders. The council sided against the citizens and with the cooperate interests, none of them residing in the city limits.
One of the town’s co-founder families was represented by Roberta Longmire, who expressed their collective opposition to the L.I.D.
The L. I. D. history is important to read to provide you with context: Click here
To council member Blair, here is the history of the subsequent Bond, to provide further understanding: Click here
Thus, citizens learned that the Thurston EDC President Michael Edwards, an advocate for the L.I.D., was also a serving Board of Directors member of Thurston First Bank (the bank funded the loan of Ordinance 910 authorizing the issuance and sale of a local improvement district No. 2 bond in the principal amount of $10,139,000), plus Edwards had an interest in the vacant 8 acre lot behind Rosemont facing Yelm Ave. West (note: the L.I.D. passes, and this property value rises). Click here
The evasive answers to my L.I.D. questions required I finally submit a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request last April for the L.I.D.’s official financial documents. This is really very simple to understand if only the council would have received the document attached.
To put in context, Mayor Foster signed a contract for a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure on December 29, 2017, without council approval, leaving the city with the land plus approx. $2.1 million total in debt and interest, IF/when the land-owners defaulted per Foster’s contract. This was all set-up to get the “high profile” land owners’ out from under what they owed, so of course they were going to default! Council requested explanations from Foster repeatedly when council member Joe DePinto first questioned the mayor on this June 26, 2018, only to be told by Foster to wait until the end of 2019, to see if the land-owners would make their payments in full. If in default on December 31, 2019, the city would take the land as collateral for the loan, plus the L. I. D.’s debt/interest. That occurred and on January 3, 2020, when the city became the L.I.D. parcel and debt holder. Your Study Session of January 7, 2020, provided you with an incomplete overview by Grant Beck. To date, Mayor Foster has had no public explanation as to what he “fostered” onto the backs of the city’s budget, and taxpayers’ backs.
The city officially became the land’s title holder and responsible for the note on January 3, 2020, which left a balance total of $2,194,320 million dollars at that time, for which the city became responsible. The city publicized this then on their website, still listed as follows: Click here