Recently there was incorrect information in a letter to the editor regarding the five options in a briefing presented at a Forks City Council meeting on March 27, 2017. Let me set the record straight with these facts:
1.) A key responsibility of the Forks City Council is conducting research on issues, knowing the facts and getting community feedback before those issues are voted on by the city council.
I contacted Clallam County for cost estimates for law enforcement, corrections and prosecution services for a cost analysis so we could discuss the pros and cons of the different options available to the mayor and the city council in addressing recurring and projected cost overruns in the General Fund. This was done in support of the mayor’s and city council’s discussions on hiring a new Forks police chief.
The cost estimates provided by Clallam County indicated that contract cost for law enforcement services would be roughly the same as our current costs and I took the position that we need to keep the police force. There has been no change in my position as suggested by Mr. Reed and the cost details were in fact presented in the briefing at the March 27 city council meeting. Since Mr. Reed did not attend the March 27 meeting, he was probably unaware of these facts, but at the April 10 city council meeting he attended, I again stated my position that we need to keep the police force.
2.) The discussion on the five different options I presented was precipitated by the Police Department going over budget and as a result of the Forks Corrections Department falling short $110,000 in projected revenue. The City of Forks had to take $32,000 out of the General Fund reserve last year to balance the books for 2016. The revenue shortfall resulted in the General Fund reserve balance being reduced to approximately $149,000 which was below the State Auditor’s recommended balance of $297,580. The low General Fund balance was cited as an exit item by the State Auditor.
3.) The people of Forks need to know all the facts regarding city finances and their inputs regarding the different options available to the mayor and city council are an essential part of the legislative process. Finally, Forks voters have the final say in any new tax revenues being established and for approving any increases in existing taxes beyond the annual tax increases that can be approved by the City Council.
I encourage anyone with inputs, comments or questions to contact me at [email protected]
Forks City Council