Letter to the Editor: Ronald Wastewater should be taken over by the City

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

To the Editor

Ronald Wastewater has done a good job in the past providing sewer services to Shoreline, but the recent appointment of Arne Lind back to the Board of Commissioners is the very reason that Ronald should be taken over by the City of Shoreline.  Bob Ransom won the election to Arne's previous position as a commissioner in the 2011 election, but the other two commissioners don't like his stance on the planned incorporation of Ronald into the City of Shoreline, so they increased the commissoners from three to five and appointed Arne back to the board.  Now the current board of four commissioners will vote on the fifth commissioner and the deck is stacked against Bob and his pro-city stance in favor or a pro-status quo stance.  This is a clear end-run around the election process and the very reason that Ronald should be taken over by the City of Shoreline as outlined in the 2002 Interlocal Agreement betweent the two parties by 2017.

Tracy Tallman
Edmonds


10 comments:

Evan Smith,  August 1, 2012 at 1:44 AM  

What woud happen to the small part of the District thst is outside of the City?

Anonymous,  August 1, 2012 at 7:08 AM  

Tracy apparently doesn't care that the Bob Ransom was booted out as a Shoreline city councilmember for violating the open public meetings act and showed his ignorance (or, should we say, lied) about sewer service to Point Wells. Bob Ransom also promised to unify the Point Wells and Ronald Wastewater Sewer District, however, there is no Point Wells Sewer District, it is part of Olympic View Water & Wastewater District. I guess the letter writer will believe anything...

Anonymous,  August 1, 2012 at 7:45 AM  

Tracy,
While I respect your right to an opinion, I disagree.

The re-appointment of Arne Lind is not enough reason for the City to take over Ronald Wastewater. This sewer district has done an admirable job, free of political influence for over 50 years. They've done the work, without complaint and provided excellent service on a very specialized, crucial service to residents. They've kept rates low.

It is unclear why they agreed back in 2002 to let the City take over, but now they believe that is not the best way to provide optimum service to the public, but to retain their integrity and independence. The jury is out on whether a vote is necessary. The majority of the sewer commissioners believe the people should have a right to vote.

The concern now is that the city's move to take over the SPU water will allow a wholesale takeover of not only SPU, but Ronald and Shoreline Water which have also provided excellent service.

The voters need to know that this hostile takeover of all services in Shoreline by the City, is a guaranteed way to pick the pockets of ratepayers to fund development and city coffers, which are heading towards empty now, even without this costly takeover. The SPU deal, specifically leaves Shoreline citizens with a huge blank check to pay for the forseeable future.

It's a huge "blank check" to be paid to the City of Shoreline for this power grab. Hey Shoreline citizens, is this what you really want? Do you really want to pay for this boondoggle?

And Bob Ransom, is just in it for the health insurance. Let's be clear!

Anonymous,  August 1, 2012 at 9:09 AM  

By going from 3 to 5 elected officials, Ronald Wastewater District has increased the number of politicians, and the cost, by 66%! And the commissioners, who oversee just one service, get paid more money than the city councilmembers who are responsible for the full range of city services. What a waste of money by Ronald Wastewater District, and then we all pay for it. And by appointing someone who the voters just tossed off the board, they are ignoring the will of the people as well as violating the terms of the agreement that they signed to approve a merger with the city. We need to make government more efficient, not less efficient. We should not increase the number of politicians, we should save money and reduce the number of politicians by merging the city and the district.

Anonymous,  August 1, 2012 at 10:00 AM  

Ronald Wastewater Commissioners do not get paid more than City Councilmembers, where did you get that idea? City Councilmembers get full health benefits, out of town travel, local travel, cell phones, laptop computers, and at least $700 per month (as of four years ago). And there are seven city councilmembers as opposed to five commissioners. The city is running in the red and Ronald Wastewater runs in the black, hasn't raised our rates, and is going to retire all of its debt.

So what is your beef about Ronald Wastewater as opposed to our reckless and wanton city council and city staff?

The city, after raising property taxes less than two years with the promise that it would stabilize city finances until 2016, will run in the red next year to the tune of $150,000! And now they propose taking over 145th for another sinkhole of $160,000 of unfunded liability! The city also added car tab fees of $20 with the promise of sidewalks and road repair, but now they tell us if we want better sidewalks, we have to vote for property taxes under a LID! So explain to me why you are grinding your gears over Ronald Wastewater - a model of responsible spending?

Anonymous,  August 1, 2012 at 4:19 PM  

Why not merge the Cities of Shoreline and Edmonds? That way the letter writer would actually be entitled to vote on which entity would do a better job of providing sewer service to Shoreline residents. Thanks for sharing your opinion on something that does not affect you, but that's OK because many Shoreline City staffers don't live in the City where they spend the residents' money.

Tracy Tallman,  August 1, 2012 at 5:39 PM  

I just want everyone to know that although I live in Edmonds, I also own two properties in Shoreline and was born and raised in Shoreline - I can remember playing in the newly installed sewer lines. I definitely have a stake in what happens with Ronald.

Respectfully, Shoreline council members actually run the city, not just a sewer district. I don't begrudge anyone their income, just the clear end-run around the last vote and the fact that two people will be chosen who weren't truly elected. There is a reason we have elections. Remember, in 2002 Ronald signed an agreement to have the District incorporated by the City of Shoreline.

Anonymous,  August 1, 2012 at 6:27 PM  

Tracy - if there is a reason why we have elections, then why did Shoreline try to get the State to amend the law so we did not even get to vote on taking over SPU or Ronald Wastewater in 2011? Do they fear democracy so much that they would deny us the right to vote? See HB 1407 and inform yourself.

Anonymous,  August 1, 2012 at 8:53 PM  

What was fishy about Mr. Lind's situation started in late October, just a couple of weeks before the election where he was, to use another's term, "booted out." In my bill, there was a bright yellow slip proclaiming that the commissioners decided not to raise our rates for the next year, complete with the then-three commissioners' names and pictures, and as I recall, it was alphabetical by first name, so Mr. Lind's picture and name came first. I took that as a subtle re-elect the commissioner scheme, and perhaps many voters took that similarly. No doubt, the three commissioners have had a close bond in their positions, which are largely obscure from most of us. When I read that they were expanding to 5 commissioners, I figured that was how they were going to get their friend Mr. Lind back on board. I wasn't surprised when he was the first one appointed; the second one comes later, for that one requires more thought. Yes, I agree with the characterization of Mr. Ransom, but the Ronald Wastewater commissioners are no better IMO. It would be difficult to prove that none of them are in it for the seemingly-easy paycheck/benefits and lack of scrutiny. What the voters need is an objective evaluation of the options.

Anonymous,  August 2, 2012 at 2:46 PM  

Tracy, Glad you have such fond memories of playing in the sewer lines and it sounds like you have more interest in Shoreline issues than most Edmonds residents. I don't remember hearing about this 2002 agreement until last year and I find it ridiculous to believe that 7 city council members and 3 commissioners can sign a document that disenfranchises the 50,000 citizens of Shoreline. You may be OK with that(especially since you're not a Shoreline voter) but I'm not.

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