I had the honor of seeing our county government and citizens in action lately when I was invited to give the Invocation at the County Commissioners meeting last month on June 3. I had picked the date at random and arrived to find a packed hearing and the kind of testimony that makes your hands shake and your voice crack. Almost everyone in the room was there because they felt their families, their homes, and their quality of life was at stake. The tension was palpable.
Preliminary estimates for 2015 indicate that Washougal is projected to have a deficit of $322,000 in our general fund. This preliminary estimate is an improvement over earlier estimates, resulting from continued prudent fiscal management and a recovering economy. When I first took office in January 2010, we had a deficit of $1.5 million. In that first year, we erased that deficit by implementing more conservative budgeting practices and through expense reductions. In fact, we ended 2010 nearly $300,000 to the good.
It is a great honor to receive this recognition, named for such an inspirational person. I recall Florence’s kind words of encouragement and support, as well as her smile. It is also special for me to be nominated for this award by Mayor Scott Higgins and City Administrator Pete Capell, with supportive letters from Bill Barron, Roger Knapp, Brent Erickson and Bill Dygert, all of whom have done much to support and promote parks, open space and trails.
Let’s face it. We’re spoiled. Even in our tough economy, most Americans enjoy a myriad of conveniences we take for granted. We awake to a warm house, turn night into day with the flip of a light switch, jump into a hot shower, get dressed and grab a cup of fresh brewed coffee before heading to work in our car or on the bus. On the way home, we stop at the grocery store to pick up a few items from the 40,000 choices offered there.
One of the problems with the minimum wage debate is the name itself. If we want to ensure that we don’t hurt lower-income workers, we should consider total compensation, not just wages. Case in point: Bill H. earns $15 an hour as a parking lot attendant. Lisa W. earns $12.25 an hour at a fast food restaurant. But Lisa’s employer provides merit raises, paid vacations, health insurance, management training, education scholarships, childcare assistance and a 401k retirement plan.
Washington state agencies face the same issue that confronts private citizens when it’s time to update their personal computers. How do you safely dispose of your old computer in an environmentally sound way that does not leave your confidential information stored on the computer’s hard drive?
The CHS Athletic Hall of Fame honors those Camas High School Papermaker teams and individuals who have excelled athletically. The typical individual inductee is blessed with superior athletic talent, competitive spirit, a dedication to training and practice, and the mental tenacity to overcome adversity. Inductees who graduated prior to 1972 share one other common attribute: a “Y” chromosome.
OK Mayor Scott Higgins, you asked for it. No, you’re not in trouble with me. Actually, I have only good things to say about your recent call for input from citizens on Initiative 502 which legalized recreational use of marijuana in our state. Input from local citizens will be critical on how implementation of I-502 should — or should not — impact our local community.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn has proposed a bill that would impose two major tax increases on residents in Washington to raise more money for public education. Calling his proposed tax increases a “blunt but necessary instrument,” Dorn says the new taxes are needed to provide “full funding” for K-12 public education, in response to the supreme court’s January 2012 McCleary v. State of Washington decision.
Last February, the Washington Supreme Court in a 6-3 ruling overturned the five-time voter-approved requirement that tax increases receive a supermajority vote of the Legislature or voter approval. In the past, when the court has invalidated a law passed by the people, the Legislature has sought to implement what the people want; Initiative 695 reducing car tab costs and Initiative-747 limiting property tax increases are recent examples.