Letter writer was very wrong | LETTER TO THE EDITOR
February 22, 2012 · 9:55 AM
To the editor:
In the Feb. 8 issue of the South Whidbey Record, Mr. Norman’s letter to the editor displays some serious misunderstandings, which we hope are not widespread. Let’s look at a few facts:
The Freeland Water and Sewer District (FWSD) commissioners discovered in April, 2011, that the “defined benefits” eventually published in the Macaulay Report would not support their plan for a $40 million sewer - at least, not without a lot more grant funding.
The FWSD commissioners then decided to “leave on the table” their resolution to form a local improvement district, or LID. (The formation of a LID by resolution would NOT have required a vote of the property owners concerned - all it would have taken is two out of the three commissioners.) The commissioners did not (yet) kill the $40 million sewer. They just left it in limbo while they continued to seek more grants and loans to fund it.
Between April and the election in November 2011, the FWSD commissioners also continued to spend money on engineering resources to plan and build the $40 million sewer.
Late in 2011, former Commissioner Knickerbocker said that (since its inception) the district had spent something like $5.5 million to $7 million on the sewer project. Does that sound like “just something they had looked into?”
After the election, at their meeting of Nov. 14, 2011, the incumbent commissioners finally voted to scuttle the LID. Until that moment, the possibility of large, arbitrary, unaffordable, and undemocratic assessments still threatened property owners in the FWSD.
So Lou and Marilynn — the new commissioners elected in a landslide — did not run on a “false platform.” They and their supporters were responding to real threats, which still existed on the day of the election.
(The above timeline can be verified by going to the FWSD website, www.freelandwsd.com/, clicking on “Reading Room,” and then scrolling down to the 2011 minutes for May through December.)
When the incumbent commissioners finally surrendered to the groundswell of public opinion, they did so graciously, showing respect and courtesy for the newly elected commissioners and their mandate.
In the end, this entire episode may have been a lesson, not just in civics, but also in civility.
LEW RANDALL, PRESIDENT
Freeland Advocates for Informed Responsible Solutions