We elect officials to posts of trust throughout our country to wisely tax and spend public moneys to run federal, state, county and city governments and we expect judicial adherence to the tenets of government of, by and for the people. Therefore, we expect due diligence of our elected to exhaust all avenues of evaluations and estimations of total costs and to come within maybe 10 percent of total project costs before casting a vote in favor of such legislation. Projects that wind up being half of what is promised or cost 100 percent more than promised (For example: Seattle bicycle lanes, Link Light Rail extensions, and our own Tukwila’s Public Safety Building and Fire Stations which are projecting maybe as much as 75 percent to 100 percent over-runs.) are great examples of our local elected’s gross failure of due diligence.
Specifically, our city’s elected sold us a lowball General Obligation Bond (GOB) for $77 million purported to cover these buildings costs, including a Maintenance Shop. Get the door open and then the real project costs begin to show up (unfortunately a pattern systemic of our local governments) and requires council explanation and action. We have our council’s tax and spend $77 million GOB for a building plan and very soon, tax again to cover the total cost of the project.
This does not represent the due diligence some of us had in mind when we cast our votes for our Tukwila politicians. Let’s stop this tax and spend and tax again city policy and get on a realistic policy representative of the electorate’s desire. The modeling to determine the scope of a project and its estimated cost is obviously outmoded and cannot be relied on to even come close to the total cost of future major projects and must be modified to establish creditable estimates that will represent the actual final cost. Our city’s elected must insist on creditable estimates and have the fortitude to cancel, downsize and/or resubmit the projects, that prove to be grossly under priced, to their constituents for re-approval thereby sending a message to staff, consultants, contractors, unions and all concerned that such will not be tolerated and the taxpayers must insist on this action if needed change is to occur.
The policies of our city are responsible for the dilemma it finds itself in with respect to Affordable Housing, i.e., Sanctuary (City) which attracts illegal immigrants and the council’s strong pro-diversity policy is directly responsible for our city being nearly 40 percent foreign born. All of which is driving the city to push for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s) to house these residents and other ebb and flow residents to the detriment of low density zoning defined and committed to policy in Tukwila’s Comprehensive (land use) Plan and no doubt lands a degradation blow to the appearance of our overall neighborhoods and communities.
Some policies are misguided and should receive the council’s scrutiny and be adjusted to be a more realistic model of what taxpayers can afford and are willing to pay. We cannot substitute tax and spend and tax again policy for responsible council policy formerly entrusted to our city’s elected. They can do better, should and must to gain the high ground and restore fiduciary responsibility to our city’s spending and regain taxpayer’s trust.