GOLD BAR RESIDENTS SAY NO WAY TO DISSOLVING THEIR CITY
Vote to put disincorporation on
November ballot defeated
July 18, 2012
(GOLD BAR, WA) -- It wasn’t a big meeting Tuesday night by big city standards but by tiny Gold Bar’s standards it was huge.
Sign points to Gold Bar city hall where residents voted Tuesday night not put disincorporating the town on November ballot. Sky Valley Chronicle photo.
A standing room only crowd – maybe 30 people or so by one estimate – packed into the small city council chambers for a sometimes contentious but mostly civil town meeting to talk about dissolving the city or moving ahead with an excess tax levy vote -- a levy that would take care of the cost of lawsuits and numerous public records requests made over the past several years by a tiny group of residents that have pushed Gold Bar to the brink of financial ruin.
“We had a town hall format. The citizens turned out in force and they were adamant about NOT disincorporating the city. It was obvious to them what the problems would be (in disincorporating),” said Gold Bar Mayor Joe Beavers Tuesday night after the meeting.
He added that many residents were “highly upset that the city was spending all this money on something that happened in 2008,” referring to the bad blood and lawsuits filed by one woman, and public records requests filed by just a few people, that followed Crystal Hill’s contentious time as mayor in Gold Bar.
Hill hasn’t been there since 2009 but Beavers says the problems that arose from Hill having clashes with just a few residents took on a life of its own and grew out of control to virtually swamp the city over the past several years
Bottom line says Beavers, “The resolution to put disincorporation on the ballot came up and after discussion by the council and after listening to all the citizen comments it failed on a 4-1 vote.”
And then the excess tax levy came up. It was discussed by residents, “And people were saying for eleven bucks a month I’m not gonna lose the city and it passed 5-0,” added the Mayor.
So come November Gold Bar residents will vote on whether to tax themselves a bit more to keep the city running instead of disbanding it and throwing control back to the county.
Beavers said he estimated the levy would cost the average homeowner in the city about $10.83 a month or $130 a year on their property tax bills. Since the average city property tax for a home in Gold Bar is about $200 a year, the excess levy would take that figure up to about $330 a year.
The mayor added that most citizens at the meeting seemed happy about the vote noting that “The mood was seriously don’t disincorporate and they seemed to appreciate the council taking the stand it did. They are highly appreciative of getting their roads snow plowed at 4:00 a.m. and highly appreciative of the fast response they’re getting out of their police service now. But also everybody knows we’ve still got problems…it’s like someone said, not liking something isn’t enough, you have to have a solution. So at Gold Dust Days (the annual community celebration later this month) there’s going to be a citizen’s booth set up explaining these things.”
At the end of the day Beavers said he was ecstatic at the turnout of citizens who got involved in the process instead of sitting on the sidelines and of the passion on both sides of the issue and the fact that residents at the meeting were well spoken and behaved (for the most part) like adults.
“We just need to do this more often…I really enjoyed the town hall format and all the input by the citizens. It was real democracy in action. I liked that,” said Beavers.