Opinion and Action. I became concerned after reading that the County Council plans to introduce an amendment to the ferry fund / fare structure tomorrow night (Council meeting 6/5/2012) without following the Council’s general policy of reviewing proposed legislation with fiscal consequences. After reading the proposed amendment (AB2012-197) , I emailed the Council requesting simply that the Public Works and Financial Committees first review and discuss the proposal before sending it to full Council. If you think this is a good idea (or not, of course), I recommend you email our elected representatives today letting them know (contact info for the Council and Jack Louws, Executive).
Here’s the email request I sent, with ‘whats’ and whys’. (As with all such emails to the Council, this is part of the public record.)
Sent: Jun 4, 2012 10:12 AM
To: county council
Cc: Jack Louws County Executive
Subject: request committee review ab2012-197 before introduction
Dear Council Representatives:
I request that either the PW or Finance Committee, or both, review proposed ordinance ab2012-197 before it is introduced to the full council.
To my knowledge, it is standard for all financial and other proposals related to ferry funding to first be reviewed and reported out by the Finance or PW committees. I believe that process should be followed for AB2012-197. (Please note that I am *only* requesting a full committee review before introduction. I not asking you to vote one way or another on AB2012-197 if and when it comes to the Council for a vote.)
Reasons for this request:
1. I have read the proposed changes in AB2012-1967. The introduction was nicely written to convey that this proposal is ‘merely’ intended to clarify the definitions of the 55% / 45% covered by fares vs road fund taxes. Seems very simple & obvious.
However, the financial effect on citizens of the proposed revision won’t be ‘mere’, as it will effectively shift ~$244,000 more to what fares must recover from here on. That will directly set up conditions for another ferry fare increase in a manner that isn’t fully open and transparent to all those who use the county ferry transportation system.
Therefore, I request that the PW committee review that implication before the ordinance is introduced to full council.
2. I’ve heard that the Executive has told PW to reduce its FY2013 budget by $250,000 (not at all unreasonable). What is not clear to me and I’m sure others is whether the $250k reduction is for the entire PW budget (road funds, water, ferry etc) or just the ferry budget (that 45%). Whereas ultimately the Council is responsible for making fiscal decisions, and whereas such technical issues are not well considered in single public hearings by the full council,
I request that Finance Committee clarify,before AB2012-197 is introduced to the full council, whether the proposed $250,000 reduction in the PW budget pertains to or will be equitably distributed among all elements within the PW budget or whether it will be drawn down only from the ferry budget.
Again, I stress that I am simply requesting that the Finance and PW Council Committees clarify these two important issues in committee before AB2012-197 is introduced to the full council, as is consistent with the Council’s standard policy of reviewing proposed all ordinances with fiscal and resource impacts before they are sent to Full Council for introduction.
2171 Tuttle Lane
Lummi Island, WA 98262