Every once in awhile someone steps up to the plate and shows some spine. Stares down the pitcher and swings from the heels.
It’s kind of refreshing. Like this guest editorial, complete and uncut, on the latest strokes of brilliance coming out of Montesano City Hall. – Ed
Here we go again. Mayor Vini is pushing forward with this Rest Area Debacle, come hell or high water. I attended the 1/10/17 City Council meeting to see if there was going to be any discussion about this Rest Area Project. There was some discussion and some preliminary numbers were discussed. And, much to my surprise, this project was presented as if it is a done deal.
Several citizens (7) expressed concerns regarding the project, but the Mayor appeared undeterred. So, here is my take on this proposal. Absolute, unadulterated, disaster-in-the-making!
According to the mayor this project will be primarily funded by the State. She is currently twisting some State level elected officials’ arms and is confident the money will be forthcoming. The numbers that were thrown around were somewhere around $1.8 to $2.8 million, depending on if the round-a-bout was going to be included, etc.
Councilman Woods asked if Council needed to make a motion to support the project in order for her to continue to promote this project. She said “no”, she planned to pursue this on her own and did not need Council approval (emphasis added). She would only need them to approve it once she got everything in place. A bit cavalier, wouldn’t you say?
I’m confused, is she our Mayor or is she a self-appointed Monarch?
Now keep in mind, even if the Rest Area is paid for with State monies, the City of Montesano is responsible to maintain it. When asked about the estimated maintenance costs, Mayor Vini used the figure of $50,000. (FYI, the Rest Area at Elma spent a total of $565,419 on maintenance fees over the past 3 years, or an average of $188,473 annually.)
I have no idea how the $50K figure was computed, but for the sake of argument, let’s assume it is accurate. The primary purpose for this Rest Area is to get people off the freeway and into town so they will stop and buy things. (Sound familiar? WiFi all over again) Now, the City gets about 3 cents for every dollar spent so it will take $1,666,666.67 in new revenue just to pay the maintenance on the Rest Area. (Please keep in mind these numbers are an estimate and may vary slightly.) Either way, we are talking huge numbers. Make sense? I didn’t think so.
This notion of getting the cars off the freeway and into town was the same strategy to promote the now famous WiFi Project. How’s that project working? Hard to tell, since there is no measurable method to evaluate it. I have no first-hand experience with the WIFI, but have heard that it is a borderline disaster. This project was based on “build it and they will come.” This Rest Area project is based on the same criteria, only the stakes are much higher. (Remember, this Rest Area project was cussed and discussed 20-25 years ago. It was a bad idea then, and even a worse idea now!) There are no guarantees that cars paraded through town are going to stop and shop. What are they going to buy? If they need gas or are hungry, they would stop anyway. Same goes for groceries or fishing licenses. The only thing you can guarantee by getting cars off the freeway and into town is more traffic.
People, you need to speak up and be heard! The Wi Fi project is marginal, at best and will cost us all some money in the near future, but it pales in comparison to this Rest Area. Don’t allow this lunacy to continue. Contact your City Council Members or show up at a Council meeting and stop this now, before it’s too late.
Montesano City Resident
Can you imagine the hue and cry if the prior administration behaved like this? Why, the Pound Puppy Brigade would be dredging up every pitchfork and cudgel in town. Let me count the hypocrisies. – Ed.