Here are two things to put on your calendar for next week in Port Angeles.
Item #1: This coming City Council meeting should be an interesting one. The Council is meeting in Executive Session at 4:30PM on Tuesday to "discuss a settlement agreement regarding an employee." Per the minimal language used in the packet for this meeting, City staff anticipates "potential action to follow regarding the consideration of a settlement agreement regarding an employee claim. / Potential approval."
The next sound you hear will be the City admitting
no wrongdoing whatsoever, but...
Sounds to me like staff is confident that the Council will settle with this "employee." And the fact that the language used is more present tense, I would suspect this is regarding Toxic Teresa Pierce. Of course, it could be Yvonne Ziomkowski - or even both. In any case, if the Council is going to take action on this, you'll want to be there when they come out of Executive Session. I'd suggest getting to City Hall no later than 4:45PM, just in case. (I'm sorry that I'll have to miss this one - I'll be out of town on a job interview.)
Also on the agenda Tuesday evening, is a Council work session on the long-range financial plan - such as it is. You'd probably find that interesting, too. They're set to discuss that, naturally, but not the item that precedes it on the agenda, which is a whole slew of grant applications that staff have put together on the consent agenda.
The memo from Nathan West for these grant applications assures the Council that "staff continues to explore a variety of available funding opportunities," which sounds pretty good. Who doesn't want opportunities?
Here are the grants the City is putting in for:
ALEA Grant $500,000 (50% match)
BIG Grant $1.4 million (25% match)
BFP Grant $1 million (25% match)
LWCF Grant $500,000 (50% match)
WWRP-Local Parks Grant $200,000 (50% match)
The first four have to do with the WTIP project (and a couple of floats for docks), while the last item is the previously discussed grant for Civic Field's lighting. Given that it was previously floated as a $400,000 grant, with a $200,000 match, it's unclear if the staff memo contains a typo, or if the City has cut their numbers in half, due to the School Board's lack of interest in putting up the whole $140,000 the City requested.
But either way, these "grants" provide some pretty striking numbers - in terms of the matches required. As presented, these "funding opportunities" will cost the City over a million dollars in matches. Now, staff will doubtlessly, with some degree of accuracy, pitch this amount as being one they can partially reach through previous or existing spending - but that only gets you so far, really. Now, I don't know about you, but, from where I sit, I get nervous whenever the City Council commits themselves to more spending, and/or taking on more debt, especially for projects that aren't truly necessary - like the WTIP, which accounts for the bulk of the grants and matches presented here.
Port Angeles: Putting the EBT in DEBT.
So Tuesday evening's meeting should be interesting whether you're interested in the soap opera that is our City government (the employee settlement) or the tragedy that is our City government's finances (the employee settlement and the grant applications and the long-term budget presentation).
Item #2 to put on your calendar follows on Wednesday, when Judge Rick Porter will be a guest on KONP specifically to discuss his pay-or-appear program. In terms of the City budget, Rick Porter's tough guy, pay-or-appear stance has caused legal costs for the City to skyrocket in the past several years. It's not at all unrealistic to say that Porter himself has also cost the City over a million dollars in legal fees over the past several years, all for the ultimate result of...What exactly? He hasn't driven the crime rate down, he hasn't solved any problems - but he's sure been a hard-ass, far-right jerk of a judge. Be ready to call in and put Porter on the spot, and challenge him on what actual, tangible results our community has to show for his actions - other than an inflated legal bill for the City, and an increased financial burden for citizens.
Rick Porter looks forward to talking with you
this Wednesday. No, really.