How does a taxing authority earn the trust of the public? Show real integrity? Retain credibility?

 

And as a byproduct, maybe pass an additional $65,000,000 construction tax for a new building?

 

How about give some of the money back? Maybe a rollback would be in order?

 

The administrations and board have set a specific amount of money we NEED to provide our services and will be asking the voters to approve sustainable funding.

 

They will respect the will of the people by earning their trust as things move forward.

 

Here is how to do it.

 

Board shows credibility and leadership

Funding for essential public services was on the line and the board took their responsibility gravely serious. There were multitudes of funding options and each was intently explored for viability.

Always vigilant of the image the board presented to the public, and the trust they had spent years cultivating, the board members wanted badly to ensure that they could offer the best service at the best price, and not overtax the voters along the way.

 

Final choices made

The first would be presented to the people in the district and voted on, asking the voters to approve a property tax increase to pay for services.

Voter education was prepared and sent out. Public meetings were held. Media endorsements secured. Assurances were made.

 

Judgement Day

As the votes came in, tense days passed until hard fought victory was secured.

The public said they have trust the board will make the best use of their taxes and were determined to not let them down.

 

 

The government solution

Not guaranteed but possible to achieve, was also millions in funding from a source not directly related to property taxes.

The board and administration, being responsible and prudent, decide it wise to also pursue this second funding option.

Since it involved a government agency, approval would take months to get, but it is worth pursuing.

 

The Timing

Because of budgeting deadlines, and uncertainty of passage or acceptance, the board was forced to actively pursuing BOTH revenue sources at the same time.

And if both are approved, the board realized a windfall could be given them.

But the amount they needed was already decided. After all, that was how they came up with the price to ask voters for. It would have been unethical to keep both revenue sources.

So, obviously the board, ever desirous of maintaining trust and credibility, would do the right thing.

Hey, they may need to come back to the voter and ask for more money for another project. And they did NOT want to poison the well of public opinion for simple one time greed.

 

The Overlay

Since the agency was asking for funds from two sources for basically the same services, and it had predetermined the cost of those services, they would only accept the amount NEEDED to keep our promise.

If both revenue sources succeed, the taxpayers would be reimbursed every single penny of overlap funds.

 

The Credibility Factor

The board has every intention of showing credible leadership by telling the public how their services would be financed and they would keep all promises of each revenue source.

 

 

The Windfall

To their delight and pleasure, both funding options were approved.

But what about the second funding option? How can they handle that one?

Easy.

Public agencies can only survive as a credible entity if the public trusts them.

So they will build in a contingency for duplicity. And the board was very clear about what they needed to do.

 

Federal Way Public Schools, Take a Bow

Federal Way Public Schools just announced that they are getting almost $10million back to the Taxpayers.

We voted for a tax increase to pay for education and knowingly and willingly said yes to higher taxes.

At the same time the school board was applying for and hoping to get substantial funds from the state Legislature.

They also knew that they could not keep both revenue sources, so built in a contingency clause. If both revenue sources came through, the school district would limit themselves to collecting only the predetermined total. Not every dime possible.

And they were clear and open about what was going to happen, including the information in the ballot and in the voters pamphlet, at all the public meetings and in media releases.

THANK YOU Federal Way Public School Board of Directors for doing the right thing.

 

Not so Honorable is SKF&R

Too bad I am not able to associate this real life experience with our fire department, South King Fire & Rescue.

The Board of Commissioners and the Chief told the taxpayers that if we voted for a tax increase, they would use the additional property taxes collected from the EXCESS LEVY to put another aid unit into service, essentially requiring them to hire 9 full time EMT trained fire fighters.

At no time did they ever tell the public there was another possibility to fund these new employees.

Then they very quietly went to the government and secured a grant for $1,817,649 from FEMA to hire 9 full time fire fighters.

Even a grade school student will tell you 9 + 9 = 18.  But the learned folks at SKF&R only came up with 11.

And, as unethical as it was, and because the public was not aware until too late of their greed, unlike the school board, three fire commissioners salivated as the fire chief presented a way to KEEP ALL THE MONEY and only hire 11 instead of 18 firefighters!!

One commissioner saw the scheme for what it was but could not convince the others to do the right thing.

October 23, 2012 marks the day the SKF&R Board of Commissioners voted 3-1 to ignore the plain text of the voter approved EXCESS LEVY and put both revenue sources in their 2013 budget while only hiring 11 new full time fire fighters, not 18 as there commitments said they would.

SHAME on you Commissioner Bill Gates, Commissioner John Rickert and Commissioner James Fossos for screwing the public with your greed. (Commissioner Mark Thompson later went on record as saying he would have joined them but he arrived to late and missed the vote)

THANK YOU Commissioner Mark Freitas for having the courage to see this tactic for what it is, trying to get the rest of the board and administration to realized their error and voting NO to both the fattened 2013 Budget and the EXCESS LEVY resolutions.

 

The Future

Can’t wait until this dis-respectful bunch of fire commissioners comes after us for another levy. I will remind the voters what a bunch of backroom cronies they are.

Again, please know that Commissioner Freitas stands alone trying to protect our interests maintaining integrity on the board. His efforts deserve our appreciation and we need to start showing him our support.

Rest assured that I will also remind the voters when those other guys come up for re-election.

There needs to be a major house cleaning and fiscally responsible officials need to be added so we can have a credible board.

 

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