Thank you Manzanita Today

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I want to thank Manzanita Today for keeping the topic of the annual transfer of hundreds of thousands of dollars of your monthly water charges from our Water Fund to the General Fund each year alive and under scrutiny. When this issue hits your pocketbook later this year after the City announces the need for water rate increases because “revenues are not keeping up with expenditures” please remember to thank the editorial staff of Manzanita Today for their timely reporting.

Whenever Manzanita’s unofficial newsletter directs the full attention and resources of their research team to do their lead story on one Manzanita resident, I must admit it’s not quite like being highlighted as Citizen of the Year but I am nonetheless honored.

Manzanita Today describes itself as “a publication independent of the City of Manzanita” however two of its editorial board are also members of the City Budget Committee. These two members researched the Warrenton overhead allocation model, passed on their findings and assisted City staff in developing the model outcomes for Manzanita and then gave their recommendations as Budget Committee members that the Mayor and Council should adopt this model.

I am not sure how the members of an “independent” reporting publication can essentially serve as City staff and also public officials who advise the Council on these policy matters and will ultimately vote to approve our City Budget based on the costs contained in this model. Any claim of objective journalistic observation and reporting would seem to be at odds with the role that board members of Manzanita Today played in this matter.

And please do read the memo that I submitted to the City Council asking for some common sense explanations to the reasons being given as to why Manzanita should just do what Warrenton does on this matter. The full memo can be found here.

Finally, note at the end of my letter I reminded the Council since our voter approved City Charter clearly spells out how water fund revenues are to be used, I suggested “ If you remain uncertain as to how to decide what policy decision is in the best interests of Manzanita, the citizens who approved the above Charter language should be given the opportunity to share their thoughts with you.”

The City certainly is not reluctant to do surveys asking what folks think on a host of important community issues. Sometimes they are not all that concerned if you even live in the City and the real impact on your household budget is sometimes unclear. This is not one of those issues and it is going to cost you.

Given that we are now finding out how our past Councils failed to address the future funding needs of our water system, storm system and streets and the millions of dollars that will be needed to now address the funding of these systems, maybe you believe that keeping more money in the Water Fund is a better policy then using it to pay for City Hall salaries and office expenses. If you are like me and believe funding improvements for our water system is a priority, let our Mayor and Council know that you would like to have a direct voice in reconsidering this decision.

Randy Kugler