Questions that need answers as county looks to cut costs | Letters
August 24, 2011 · 11:31 AM
Excluding EMS, fire and enforcement vehicles: how many county vehicles are there in San Juan County by department?
What is the average age of those vehicles by department versus the average age of private vehicles registered in San Juan County? How many of those vehicles are driven home to work by employees by department?
What is the justification for each? What criteria are used to determine number and type of new vehicles purchased by each department?
Without touching benefits enjoyed by current employees, what steps have been taken to assess possible reduction of benefits offered to future county employees in the current economic climate?
Twenty years ago Public Works had one facility on Guard Street. They now have that facility plus the Beaverton Valley site and the former World Disc facility. What steps have been taken to consolidate these sites and return some portion of them to tax paying properties?
How much time and money have been expended by the permit center and the entire process of following ecological rabbit trails (CAO) without any problems having been identified?
I have no doubt that there is some level of pollution at the point where the streets runoff into Friday Harbor, but it is illogical and irrational to expand that small sample to represent all of the waters of the county. A logical extension of the authorities sought by the CAO is that a county employee could enter our homes without a warrant, sample our toilets at certain times of the day, find an intolerable amount of fecal material and conclude that the waters of San Juan County are being irreparably damaged. After all, it is water and it is in San Juan County.
The above is certainly not an exhaustive list.
Perhaps we should look at the efficacy of a 1 percent land bank fee and a garbage "fee" for property owners against the stated goal of having a diverse community with opportunity for lower income people to own property.
I'm certain others can think of ways money can be saved without increasing "fees" and taxes to maintain operations. I challenge others to send ideas in and to let them be known to the County Council.
It is time — no — correct that. It is far overtime for our county council to start using some common sense in their activities and to manage those activities with the best interests of the public at heart.
Please note that I didn't mention the notion that public business might be better conducted if all members of our county council stay awake during the proceedings.
Dennis R. Hazelton
San Juan Island