Tweet: ‘I would like to preserve our natural spaces and lakes, am fiscally responsible, and would put citizens first’
Editor’s note: Opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the author alone and do not reflect the editorial position of ClarkCountyToday.com
I’m Margaret Tweet a write-in candidate for Camas City Council Ward 3, Position 1. I would like to preserve our natural spaces and lakes, am fiscally responsible, and would put citizens first. Currently, highly paid consultants, with vested interests in outcomes, overly influence city decisions about projects, taxation, development, and city parks.
The Camas mayor and council have proposed an expansive Aquatics-Events Center by the lakes and added some sports fields improvements. To promote the project, they hired a consultant, WSP, USA at a cost of nearly $70,000 to “develop a project website and social media campaign” and integrate the project website with the city’s existing social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Camas Connect app). The official city website posts consultant articles and refers residents to the consultant-crafted Camas Community Aquatics Center(CCAC) website 24-7. WSP, USA, does a lot of work for the city, and stands to gain more work if the project is approved.
To fund this elaborate Aquatics-Events Center, Proposition 2 was placed on the Nov. 5 ballot that asks citizens to authorize:
• $78 Million bond, plus ~$ 29,295,060 interest costs, over 20 years.
• The bond would add ~$1.04 per $1000 APV per year to property taxes, which translates to ~ $500 for a $480,000 home.
• To actually use the facility, membership, use and rental fees apply. An annual family membership is estimated at ~$800.
• A new Metro Parks Tax to pay for projected operating losses from an Aquatic Center has been planned by the city from 2011 thru 2019.
Citizens had many questions at the Oct. 2 Open House 2, such as Can Our Local Health and Fitness Businesses Survive if the city unfairly competes with them? In Vancouver, fitness/pool businesses were pushed out by the Firstenburg city fitness/pool center.
However, On Oct. 3, links to vital public records on Prop 2 were removed from the CCAC website homepage, making it difficult to find Property Tax Impact, interest costs, the WSP contract and more. (Public records here: July 15 City Council workshop) Misleading statements that property taxes could decrease if citizens vote for Proposition 2 continue today from the city and CCAC websites, and the Yes campaign.
A formal complaint with the WA state PDC has been filed about the Camas mayor, city council, and administrator authorizing the use of public resources to support a $78 Million bond. The bond counsel firm that could make money from the proposed bond is listed on the ordinance on the ballot, and defends city officials.
In 2014, it was estimated that about $250,000 had been spent on Aquatic Center studies. Public records on money spent since 2016 are not available yet.
Recently, the mayor and council approved spending over $ 2.6 Million to purchase and renovate a City Hall annex downtown. Meanwhile, in Crown Park, the outdoor pool with bathrooms was demolished, the basketball court was removed, and a port-a-potty has been used for years. The city doesn’t use recycle bins in city parks either.
City streets are in need of repair. Sidewalks crack from trees planted due to city code requirements creating hazards, and costly repairs to property owners.
The city still follows a decades old decision to add fluoride to our drinking water, in spite of updated research about the potential harm it may cause to residents. Fluoride free water like Washougal, Portland, and Clackamas County offer gives residents a choice. If elected, I will welcome citizen input, protect our natural spaces and lakes, promote more competitive bids for city contracts, and prioritize city funds for essential services for all.
For details see www.Tweet4Camas.com
For Prop 2 information, see www.NoToCamasPoolBond.com