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Opinion

Taxpayers do have an agenda

hidden agendas Fire Commissioner Ben May writes (May 6) of his suspicions that anyone who writes to the editor has a hidden agenda, and implies that to do so is to libel our firefighters and may be just short of treason.
   I attended the last meeting of the "Citizens Advisory Committee." There was no public notice of the meeting, and even some of those who requested notification of the meeting times and dates were not so advised. The answer given was that there was no time to call them. The chair even refused to call for a vote on a motion that required public notice of such meetings.
   One of the "regulars" even commented that he didn't understand the interest since January in the activities of the committee.
   A few examples of why we taxpayers are now getting interested:
   A special assessment was proposed to build a new firehouse east of Station 35. The assesment was approved. Now it is decided that that station is not necessary, so the funds should be spent on upgrading Station 35. Included in the basic plan is replacement of the failing 10-year-old roof. Ten years? Why hasn't the commission gone after the contractor?
   Next, they want to spend another $250,000 for additions they "might need" 10 or so years from now, and they use as partial justification the fact that they bought two new pieces of equipment (at $200,000 each), and have no place to put them. How was that expenditure justified?
   But all this is after they spent an outrageous price for land downtown on which they cannot build without extremely expensive modification and mitigation.
   Also never mentioned is the $6 million "slush fund" they have in hand.
   So yes, Mr. May, we do have an agenda. That is to get you Commissioners to do your job, which is not only to provide good fire protection, but to do it in a fiscally responsibile manner, doing value analysis on your expenditures.
   We taxpayers do not object to sensible expenditures, but we've had it with bureaucrats wasting our tax dollars. We are not a bottomless pit of money to meet your every whim! Every bit of money that is not essential should be returned to the taxed-out property owners.
   And we reserve the right to review what is being spent. You work for us, not we for you!

Roy Bleikamp, Woodinville