Civic center plan is way out of line

The cost of Mountlake Terrace’s proposed new civic center is almost embarrassing in its scale. The number is five times larger than the figure in our most recent budget, so large that the City Council can’t fund it without a public vote, their preferred option. The city portion of your property taxes will increase 57 percent. Even by the standards of a council that simply ignored citizen discontent with the Town Center zoning precondition of their new monument, this is chutzpah of breathtaking proportions.

How out of step are these people? Within a prolonged recession and steadily declining city revenues, they have nonetheless commissioned a $240,000 design of this building, which they are not even sure they can ever fund. Kiss that money goodbye. Remember that when they whistle past your wallet crying about essential public services that may need to be cut back. Remember also that, without comment, the council spends $40,000 per year in order to just talk to Patty Murray, Maria Cantwell and Jay Inslee. Waste has many faces. We must hire a lobbyist who sets up a meet and greet with these three. Is it at one of the city manager’s regular coffee klatches here in Terrace where all three were elected? No; to get their attention about our legitimate infrastructure needs, city officials must fly to D.C. Don’t these people have local staff who drink coffee?

Doesn’t the city receive grant money all the time without expensive intermediaries? If every town our size needs a line item in their budget of $40,000 to talk with the people they elect to D.C., what does that say about those people in D.C.?

Pay to play isn’t just selling Senate seats in Illinois. You have to pay to play the federal earmarks game, too. What do you think? It’s your money.

Leonard French

Mountlake Terrace

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