Editorial: Vote YES on Proposition 1

Editorials, Letter to the Editor 4 3

The following Letter to the Editor was submitted to South Puget Sound News by DuPont Resident Carol Estep:

I will be voting YES for the City of DuPont Proposition 1 on the November ballot. I volunteer one day a week at the DuPont Museum and every week I am told by out of town visitors what a beautiful city we live in and how lucky we are to be here.

My husband and I moved to DuPont in 2001 and for the past 11 years we have paid low property taxes and yet somehow the City has managed to provide us with the services we needed to live a comfortable life. While we have a small police force, we have always felt safe. We have been lucky enough not to have needed the services provided by the fire department, but have always known they were available. We love to walk the trails in DuPont and when our grandkids were younger, take them to the parks within a couple blocks of our home. The City staff have always been helpful and courteous whenever we needed their help.

I have heard people say that the general fund should only be used for the top priorities of the community- EMS, Police and Fire. In other words, Safety. I believe Public Safety comes in more forms than just police and fire protection. Street lights, well maintained streets, safe drinking water, parks and recreational opportunities for our children are all forms of safety.

The last major tax increase for the city was in 2003 when citizens approved a property tax increase of $1.32 per thousand dollars of assessed value. Residents did vote to renew the 50 cent EMS levy in 2011, but that did not give the City any new revenue. Thank you one and all.

The City of DuPont has some of the same bills that you and I pay; electric, water, natural gas, gasoline, maintenance. When the cost of gasoline goes up for us, it also goes up for the City. You and I can decide not to make a trip to town or to turn out some lights to save money but that is not an option for the City. They can’t decide to postpone a police or fire call out to save money on gas and I hope they wont turn off the street lights.

Right now DuPont has 3 fire fighters on each shift. With a current population of approximately 8400 people and all the new apartments being built in town, I don’t believe we are sufficiently covered. There are 12 hours of every day that we have only 1 policeman on duty. For certain call outs he/she can not respond until back up comes from Steilacoom or somewhere else.

The big debate over whether to vote yes or no on Proposition 1 seems to be whether or not the new Civic Center was financed in the correct method. Hind sight and second guessing is a game we all play at some point in our lives and after listening to all the arguments, I believe the residents of DuPont need to vote yes to get DuPont moving in a positive direction. I want to keep DuPont a great place to live. I don’t want to see our parks and open spaces deteriorate or my home lose it’s value. If cuts have to be made to our fire and police departments, this could cause our personal homeowners insurance to increase. I would rather pay the extra property tax to the city than pay more to my insurance company for fire and home insurance.

I attend most of the City Council meetings, and while I don’t always agree with what is being said or the vote that is taken, I am convinced our Council is doing a good job. I believe they are working hard to keep DuPont a great place to live. I don’t believe anyone is trying to hide anything nor do I consider finding a way to come up with funds for the city to meet its debt obligation a bail out to the City Council. If it is a bail out, it is a bail out to ourselves the residents of DuPont, as we have not been willing to pass the parks or fire levies in the past.

Mayor Grayum has said in order to get the Cities finances back on solid footing, we will need to raise new revenue and make some cuts. Having to make cuts is a reality we will all share together and a property tax increase is the most stable and equitable tax the City can levy.

DuPont is a great place to live because of the citizen’s who are willing to participate in open discussions, provide constructive criticism, give of their time through volunteering and serving on committees/boards/City Council and taking pride in how their city and community looks. This includes being willing to pay for the services we expect and need in order to live in a safe and well maintained community.

Should the Citizens of DuPont pass Proposition 1? In my opinion YES.

- Carol Estep, DuPont resident

 

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4 Comments

  1. DupontDenizen October 13, 2012 at 7:08 pm - 

    People understand the fiscal realities that the City faces. However, citizens are totally exasperated about the path that got us here. Whether the Civic Center was financed through the correct method is just the tip of the iceberg.

    First, the council has demonstrated no leadership. Ever. Throwing another property tax at the voters requires no creativity by our council members. It’s just another trip down the same broken path.Second, the Civic Center financing was pegged to an incredibly volatile tax source. This was a really bad financial decision. Why should taxpayers bailout a terrible financial decision? Third, revenue reforms, other than a property tax, could have been enacted years ago, generating substantial revenue. Enough revenue to pay for the 3 fire fighter positions. The Council has decided to do nothing and implement none of these reforms.Fourth, a Finance Committee was enacted that actually recommended some of these reforms referenced in the previous paragraph. The Council chose not to enact a single one and totally wasted their time.
    Fifth, it was the fiscal crisis caused by the Civic Center that was suppose to be the focus of the ballot proposition. Why are the fire fighter positions included in the ballot measure. This is a bait and switch. These positions could have been funded through other revenue reforms, as mentioned earlier.
    Sixth, there is no accountability in the ballot proposition. If tax collections pick up, the city is not required to reduce the property tax levy. It just turns into a windfall for the city.

  2. DupontDenizen October 16, 2012 at 9:18 pm - 

    Many people are “stuck in the past” because council members have not done anything to put the city on a more fiscally sustainable path. Throwing yet another property tax at the voters isn’t “fixing” the problem. It’s simply a method to extract more money out of our pockets without requiring our elected “leaders” to make any other real reforms.

  3. dupontgirl October 19, 2012 at 3:47 pm - 

    It is so disappointing to see editorial responses from the yes committee’s thinly veiled plants. I am voting “yes” but it isn’t because I’ve fallen for your underhanded attempts at manipulating the public. People who live in DuPont aren’t brain dead and we can spot your fake editorial responses. You stand out like a busty, blonde cheerleader at a high school football game.

    • Eigen Vector October 20, 2012 at 11:41 am - 

      I would think twice before giving them more of your money. The Council is like a bunch of kids throwing temper tantrums until you give in. Don’t be an enabler. Make them adopt other reforms before giving them more of your hard earned money.

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South Puget Sound News is the local news source for DuPont and Steilacoom. We report on and share news regarding local schools and businesses, government and politics, non-profits and the people who make this a great place to live. South Puget Sound News is owned by C.E.M. Communications, L.L.C.