Sunday, July 8, 2012
Like a tenacious bulldog, the Walla Walla City Council is trying, a third time, to pass a tax to correct their misconstrued action when they closed the swimming pool years ago.
It seems the Council purposely neglected maintenance on the old pool until it was in disrepair, and then closed it.
Maintenance neglect by governmental officials on streets, schools, and/or pool has been common practice locally. Why? The answer seems obvious.
It closed the old pool, most likely thinking they could force taxpayers to build a new pool. Wrong: Coercive action backfired.
The Council cited the need for a new heating boiler for the pool as the main reason for closure. A $100,000 new boiler seems miniscule compared to an $8 million new pool.
The first pool bond measure included Walla Walla County taxpayers and was soundly defeated.
After analyzing election results, the Council changed the voting district boundaries to the Walla Walla School District only. Purpose: The school district voted more favorably for the pool in the first election.
That boundary tampering went over like a lead balloon and the second pool bond was likewise defeated.
The Council has decided to try to pass a pool tax levy with only Walla Walla residents voting. I doubt if a local tax levy has ever been used to finance a major structure of this magnitude.
Levies require only a simple majority to pass, not the 60 percent required for bond passage.
Levies are meant to fund maintenance and operating expenses, not swimming pools that can't muster the 60 percent majority required for major structures.
If levy financing for major structures is allowed this one time, a precedent will be set, and future major structures (even schools), will undoubtedly attempt to go the levy route. Say no to this overbearing Council attempt.
See the pattern of the Council? Keep changing the normal voting requirements until something works. Who cares if it's ethical or lawful? Anything to pass it!
A pool proposal, if financed with a bond as proposed in two prior elections, is OK.
It's not OK to use Mickey-Mouse, slight-of-hand trickery to pass this pool proposal as a pool levy because it requires fewer votes to pass then a tax bond.
Don't believe claims that a new pool will be financially self-sustaining.
Walla Walla history reveals at least three large outdoor pools closed. Why? Insufficient revenue.