The town needs a professional manager


January 19, 2023

To The Eagle:

To put my Butler parking lot comments from last week in perspective:

· A much more efficient and aesthetically pleasing parking lot on Broadway St replacing Wally Wright’s old hardware store was recently and benevolently developed by a local resident. It has roughly 20 parking spaces, and designed with much easier entry and exit routes. The total development cost for this parking lot, after deducting the purchase price but including all the extensive demolition and infill required, was roughly $125,000. This works out to approximately $6-7,000 per parking space. The town’s per space construction cost, excluding the EV charging spot, is $60,000 --and still rising!

We’ll soon hear much chest thumping about the information station that will be erected on the Butler lot, having the EV charging station, and some limited WIFI abilities. I could argue all day long why these cost justifications are so short sighted. Knowing these above facts though will help clarify the need for the Town to change it’s management structure to allow for a “Town Manager” position for it’s operational oversight.

Mayor Olson does his best, but is again proving he doesn’t have the ability to understand finance or set priorities. A professional “Town Manager” would report to the council, work in concert with the town’s clerk treasurer, more effectively implement the council’s annual budget than most mayors could, and be required to help the council provide long term town planning, both fiscal and developmental. And yes, it’s hard to believe, but the town still lacks a long overdue, updated and state required Comprehensive Plan, and -- any type of longer term planning (?).

Past town councils have also understood and considered hiring for this position. This Butler St lot’s excessive spending would have paid a “Town Manager’s” annual salary for multiple years. Let’s push our council members to finally make this happen.

Bill Wainwright, Cathlamet


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