Taxing question

September 18th, 2015 by Ken

Who makes the decisions which cost taxpayers money?

That’s the question Lacey Mayor Andy Ryder wanted to know when he asked it during a Lacey City Council work session last night.

Like the other cities of  Tumwater and Olympia, – – Lacey belongs to more than a dozen regional boards and commissions – – some of which have taxing authority and some of which depend on fees for services.

The cities have representatives on these boards and commissions such as Intercity Transit, LOTT, Animal Control  and the Olympic Regional Clean Air Authority – – just to name a few.

Ryder was concerned that financial decisions are often made at these regional boards which fiscally impacts the city’s budget.    “The city needs more time to determine the impact of these decisions affecting our general fund,” Ryder said.

He also expressed concern that personal opinions of the individual representatives may not be the opinion of the entire city council.   Who makes the decisions when a vote is being taken on a fiscal matter, Ryder asked?

The council wrestled with the question.   They agreed that more information needed to be shared about regional board actions.   One solution that seemed to gain some support was to have the directors of the various boards and commissions join the council a couple of time a year to inform them of future financial plans.

(Personal opinion) – – This is a long time in coming.   The LOTT Board constantly raises the fees it charges to local governments without much discussion by the city councils.    Intercity Transit runs bond issues on the ballot without coordinating with city or local school districts.   Regional government works for the most part, most of the time.   But taxpayers often have no say on how these regional boards spend the money.  Individual councilmembers are our only source of control – and they often have their own agenda.)

Posted in Government, The Real News

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