Public Questions Budget Decisions
Getting To YES.....Not!
Tom Davis, self-proclaimed "Concerned Citizen of Mason County" publicly reminded the Commissioners and the county a missed opportunity to increase revenues for the county due to their recent moratorium on the zoning of marijuana grow operations. Davis feels the county is losing revenues due to halted land sales and jobs associated with the industry.
Taxes for land sales is not going to happen, jobs will not happen, both affect the REET (real estate excise tax, from taxes paid on land sales) funds and 09 Money (sales tax) that was going to help pay for the Belfair Sewer. Davis also felt over the long term, a portion of the state taxes (from the cannabis industry) would come back to the county through the grants offered by the state, which is a major revenue source for the county.
The last comment/question Davis had for the Commission was what happened to "Getting To Yes", a recent program offered by the Economic Development Council on how government should not interfere. The first test of employing the ‘Getting To Yes’ was to say NO!
Commissioner Neatherlin indicated he agreed with Davis, he voted no on the moratorium, and noted he has received numerous phone calls where the change in direction has greatly impacted people with their personal investments. Neatherlin once again admitted "we made a big mistake".
Possible Sheriff Deputy Layoffs
Sheriff Salisbury was not sure if he was going to speak as the Sheriff or a citizen when he requested clarification on a budget instruction the County Commission is about to make: to keep the budgets flat to 2014. Sheriff Salisbury stated if the upcoming payout for the newly negotiated deputies contract ($495K) is paid out of the sheriff's flat (2014) budget, the result would be laying off deputies. Salisbury was followed by the Union Guild President Corporal Tim Ripp requesting clarification of county's ability to pay for the deputies’ contract, as the 2014 Budget did not comprehend the salary increases.
Commissioner Jeffreys and Commissioner Neatherlin attempted to explain the process, and would not/could not make a commitment to cover the raises, and said the budget process does accommodate a listing of extraordinary costs that the commission will consider during the process. The commission will deliver their final rendition of "budget instructions" to the department heads and elected officials at the Monday 7/14/2014 briefing meeting.
Ripp reminded the commission that the Citizens of Mason County have continually stated law enforcement is a priority". Ripp fears if the sheriff's budget is flat to 2014, there will be no money to retain the new hires currently in training. Ripp said there was never an indication or a discussion that the County could not afford to pay for the new contracted agreement. Ripp's comments were echoed by Debbie Lippencot, a Guild representative present at the negotiations. According to Lippencot there was a discussion specific to the county's ability to pay for the negotiated increase. The County was represented by Hr/Central Services Director Bill Kenny.
JE KMAS News - July 9, 2014
top: Commissoners Jeffreys and Neatherlin
2nd: Tom Davis
3rd: Union Guild President Corporal Tim Ripp
4th: Debbie Lippencot, Guild Representative & negotiator