Thursday, March 29, 2012
The Walla Walla City Council is, for a third time, proposing a tax measure to build a swimming pool.
Wrongful City Council actions have caused pool bond rejection two times. A third rejection is likely.
Wrongful action number one: The Council purposely neglected maintenance on the old pool until it was in disrepair and then closed it. It evidently thought closing the pool would coerce taxpayers to build a new one. That first bond proposal was for all taxpayers in Walla Walla County. It was soundly defeated.
This is why Walla Walla hasn't had a pool for many years.
Wrongful action number two: After analyzing the voting pattern in the county, the Council thought it would have a better chance of passing a pool bond if it only included the voters in the Walla Walla School District. This made the taxpayer base smaller and increased the individual tax burden. This went over like a lead balloon and was likewise defeated.
Wrongful action number three: The Council decided it would bend the rules further. Why not pass a pool tax levy instead of a bond. Levies require a simple majority to pass compared to 60 percent for a bond.
In addition, the Council narrowed the taxpayer base to Walla Walla residents only. This smaller population base again increases the individual tax burden.
I'm sure the Council knows that when voters approved the lower percentage required to pass levies, it was done to help school districts pass their operation and maintenance levies. It wasn't meant to pass capital improvements that couldn't be passed as a bond. It's questionable whether levies can be used this way.
See the pattern here? Cut the population base until you find people receptive to your tax proposal. If unsuccessful, try a levy instead of a bond.
If levy usage for construction is legal, why not build schools with levies? Answer: Not legal.
Let's tell our Council to stop unethical actions.
The Council shouldn't waste money on another pool election with a tainted history. It's an election destined for defeat.
The Council members should admit their mistake and clean up, restore and reopen the old pool.
Our City Council wants to provide a swimming pool for College Place use and our School Board wants Walla Walla High School to educate College Place students. What next?
Remember, levies only require majority approval, so every vote is necessary.
Vote no again.