Equal support should be given
April 20, 2017
To The Eagle:
In the ongoing discussion about financial support being given to the Community Center in Cathlamet, there is one point that I want to be sure we consider. It has to do with the property taxes that we pay to Wahkiakum County and to the Town of Cathlamet.
A number of people have made a point of comparing the public support given to Johnson Park (in Rosburg) and to the Community Center (in Cathlamet). But, if we’re going to compare the county’s support of Johnson Park with the town’s support of the Community Center, we need to include all financial support. What about utility expenses paid directly to the PUD? Or repairs and maintenance expenses paid to contractors? And what about capital improvements? Janitorial services and supplies? Equipment purchases and office supplies? And in our analysis, we need to include income received from rental fees and donations. Let’s compare apples and apples, not apples and oranges.
Some people seem to feel that if the county supports Johnson Park, that it should be the town’s responsibility to support the Community Center. I would like to point out that the public support given to these facilities comes from property taxes. As a resident of both Wahkiakum County and the Town of Cathlamet, my property taxes are helping to support both facilities. As for me, I visited the facility at Johnson Park only once in the past six years. The yoga class began in the late afternoon at 4 p.m., or 4:30 p.m., and by the time I began the trek home, it was dark. And raining. And I was on an unfamiliar road with lots of curves. That trip home was very unpleasant, and I haven’t returned to Johnson Park since. Yet, as I pointed out above, my taxes help to support the Johnson Park facility.
On the other hand, the Community Center in Cathlamet is readily accessible for me, and I visit it frequently. So I have no complaints about helping to support it with my property taxes. However, I notice that a number of my friends, who do not live within the town limits, also come to the Community Center. Now, I have no objections to folk from Puget Island or Elochoman Valley or Greenwood Road using the center. On the contrary, I’m very pleased to see them there because many of them spend long hours volunteering to help run the place.
But, it does seem a bit unfair that their property taxes aren’t contributing to support the center, while my taxes do. I urge the Wahkiakum County Commissioners to contribute equal support to Johnson Park and the Community Center in Cathlamet.