The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

We should have a say, resident says about lot

 


To The Eagle:

I don’t know if you saw last week’s letter in The Eagle, but there will be more to come about the mayor having the town treasurer pay $1,000 earnest money to purchase a parking lot, prior to their executive session. Later, it was on the town council’s upcoming agenda under “Property acquisition – action expected.” This was at least three months ago.

What happened between then and their last June 18 meeting, I don’t know. Did the Department of Ecology do a soil inspection and sign off, allowing change of ownership, or are we now on the hook for the clean-up?

What I do know is that after a long executive session, where we were made to stand outside in the cold, we were allowed back inside in time to hear the mayor calling for a vote to buy the parking lot. He said he wanted to turn it into a “green space.”

You should have been there. Ryan Smith made the motion to purchase it for $68,000, Sue Cameron seconded it and the voting began. Ryan, Sue, and Jean Burnham voted “Yes.” Next was Tanya Waller, “No,” then Laurel Waller, “No.”

When Tanya tried to explain why she voted no, that the assessed value was $34,000 (the County of Wahkiakum valued the property at $35,000 for tax purposes), Sue Cameron yelled, “Point of order, point of order” and asked the town’s attorney, Heidi Heywood to intervene. Heidi said Tanya could speak, that it was a matter of public record.

Laurel, on the other hand, was not allowed to speak. Dale cut her off and moved on.

This is why I am writing. Bad things are happening. The fact that sewer rates are going up 3 percent and we still owe the county around $360,000--don’t quote me, it could be more--for sewer hookups up Boege, along with our $2 million that never got invested does not leave room to pay two times more than it’s worth to a friend of the council. The worst part of it is Ms Cameron resented our being there to question it, and I quote: “Why should we have to tell them what we’re doing with it”?

She was talking about our money. I think the council forgot they were working for us and that we had a right to be part of the discussion. Certainly the mayor forgot whose money he was spending when he wouldn’t hear our objections. There doesn’t seem to be any check-and-balance system to ensure something of this magnitude doesn’t happen again.

We, the Concerned Citizens of Cathlamet (CCC), implore you to be part of the discussion. Come to the town council meetings and be heard. It’s the third Monday of every month, so July 16, at the Fire Hall Meeting Room. And if you live where there would be run-off from disturbing the site, make sure the Department of Ecology signed off on it.

We need more parking!

Prudence Diem

Resident, planning commission secretary

 

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