Letters to the Editor for Dec. 4, 2012

timestamp icon
category icon Opinion

Now is the time to invest in Washougal

I have read that the city is looking over the proposed budget for 2013 in the Nov. 27 edition of the Post Record, “Washougal budget discussions continue.”

I understand the city holds reserves of approximately $2.9 million dollars and this represents 26 percent of the operating budget for the city. City Council policy states 16 percent should be held in these reserves for internal cash flow purposes. The city holds a 10 percent surplus of reserve funds.

First, my congratulations for accumulating this amount of surplus money in the City’s reserve funds, this is a good thing. If the city does decide to go into a private contract with a company to take over at least partially the Public Works Department I predict there will be expenses arise for the city that were not expected due to this new business direction for the city. This Reserve Surplus might go to pay for those unexpected expenses that I am confident will arise.

However, if the city does not elect to go into this private contract to take over the City public works, I do think it prudent and proper to investigate other areas that this reserve surplus might be used. I think the $95,000 fund to help low-income residents pay a portion of their city utilities is an excellent, prudent, and charitable thing for the city to do and I applaud this financial effort. While, as one of our City Council was recently quoted as proclaiming: “The city does not belong in the charity business,” I might remind the city that using taxes to help all of our city and its citizens, including those of low income of which Washougal has a disproportionate share, is not only a good idea but your duty. If the city’s taxes cannot or should not be used to help some of our citizens, especially when the city is raising its utilities a great deal in a short time, what good can taxes do? No, I reject the idea that the City of Washougal cannot be charitable during these hard financial times for people of low income.

A “fee holiday” for 2013 for certain commercial and multi-use fees is also a very good idea. If the city wishes to encourage business growth in Washougal, the reduction of these fees in all of 2013 would be a great incentive for business to come to Washougal instead of other communities who offer no feel holiday. And I also think the use of the reserve surplus for this endeavor is prudent and a very good investment for Washougal’s future. For those of the council who might not agree look at it this way, how much money is the reserve surplus making you sitting now in a bank over that which it may make you in the hands of enterprising and eager business entrepreneurs?

As the country slowly begins to rise with a growing economy, Washougal should take note and pave the way for new business in our community. Now is a very good time for investing in Washougal and its future. As a concerned citizen I would like to see Washougal be more optimistic and enterprising with its business decisions and to use those reserve surplus funds in the most advantageous and charitable ways it can.

Mike Briggs, Washougal

Creators of ‘junk mail’ should pay more

Last week’s paper included a letter to the editor listing ways to help out our postal service and their declining revenues.

According to that writer, the post office delivered over 73 billion pieces of first class mail in 2011. How many of those pieces of mail were “junk mail?” Ads for life insurance, car insurance, mortgage reductions, etc. The list goes on.

Those pieces of mail are afforded first class type handling, for the most part. Let’s make them pay the first class rate just like we have to, instead of the discounted 18-35 cent rate they’re given.

I don’t have figures in my head, but I wager that would generate billions and billions of extra revenue. At the least it would keep our mail coming six days a week. Come on postal service — help us out a little.

Fred King, Washougal