Another county fee, oh boy!

Record Editorial

  • Friday, October 3, 2008 4:58am
  • Opinion
Another county fee, oh boy!

Amidst reports that county government growth is outpacing inflation as well as a number of other businesses comes this revolutionary idea to manage surface water. But this time it’s not just

another service offered (actually demanded) by our county, it’s going to get its own

fee and add 14 more staff to the current surface water management group.

And never mind that voters overwhelmingly voted no to increased taxes and fees.

King County is planning on extending its surface water management

program to East King County. In their proposal, they state unequivocally that

the purpose of the program is “Without a comprehensive stormwater program

in this region, King County is unable to help address widespread problems

stemming from the alterations of natural runoff patterns, and from human

activities that impact flooding and water quality.” But does a “stormwater” plan

really address what East King County needs as far as water management?

When most residents of East King County think of water and surface water

management it has to do with one thing …

floods. And at the same time we are thinking about floods, we are trying to figure out if we should purchase that

10-foot Livingston boat to get to the front door of our home.

Sorry, folks, there are more to concerns about surface water

management than just water quality. I know this is against the norm, but for some reason

the only thing we hear about when worrying about the environment is fish and

fish habitat. What about families, like those in the Shamrock Park housing

development that have to consistently battle water problems? Where has King

County been in helping them deal with “surface water”? Can a plan that has worked

in urban areas work in the Valley? Are the problems we have with surface

water the same as where the program currently exists? I would doubt it.

The program will cost $3.1 million for the first year. Each property

owner will be assessed a fee, and the fee will be different depending on the

property’s use as commercial or residential. A large chunk of the money will go to

the salaries of staff (the 14 new positions) as well as to various projects.

I do believe that water quality has gone down hill tremendously in the

last 10 years in the Valley. Kimball creek was once a great place for a father to

take his kids fishing … but it’s not uncommon to have the creek so muddy

that fishing isn’t too appealing.

So where did we go wrong? Is it development, growth, lack of

involvement? I would doubt that one problem is the cause or that one solution is

the answer, but before we look at just surface water management, we better get

a regional plan on reducing flooding impacts that affect real people. I

would rather see $3.1 million contributed to the development of that regional

plan first and look at surface water management as a part of that plan. And it

will take more than King County; it will take the state and feds as well. Seems

to me the Army Corps of Engineers and our state have let us hang out to dry a

few times, so it would be prudent to expect more from them as well.

In addition to my concerns about another fee-based program is

assistance at the municipality level. I feel like standing up and saying, hey, look at

us, look at us, as Snoqualmie is dealing with another proposed development

that would likely impact “surface water” and “water quality”

(great buzz words) as much as any development in King County.

After a recent report in the Seattle Times that King County government

is growing extremely fast and adding staff at a time when several cities

have formed, thereby eliminating much of the need for county government in

those areas, I am skeptical. Wouldn’t it be safe to assume that as municipalities

are created, such as Sammamish, that county government would

reduce its size? Makes sense to me …

So let’s hold off on another level of bureaucracy such as the increase of

the surface water management organization. Let’s ask our county

representatives to figure out a way to do it with what they have now. Even eliminate the

fees for the area currently covered by the plan. It can be done without creating

more government.

Jim McKiernan


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@valleyrecord.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.valleyrecord.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Opinion

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Not much changed from what we knew on election night | Roegner

This column was due before the election was certified. However, not much… Continue reading

William Shaw is General Manager of the Snoqualmie Valley Record. Contact: wshaw@valleyrecord.com.
Let us give wings to nonprofits and charities in the Valley | William Shaw

COVID-19 and the delta variant are still casting awful shadows on our… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Public safety takes centerstage in local elections | Roegner

In Seattle and most suburban cities, the overwhelming message was that the… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Washington’s secretary of state leaves big shoes to fill | Roegner

Secretary of State Kim Wyman recently announced she will leave her state… Continue reading

Dr. Jayendrina Singha Ray serves as Faculty of English at Highline College. Her research interests include postcolonial studies, spatial literary studies, British literature, and rhetoric and composition. Prior to teaching in the U.S., she worked as an editor with Routledge and taught English at colleges in India.
What the Afghan wants to say: A story of resettlement | Guest column

The wind is strong. It carries the colored leaves of fall to… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
The rest of the story: Sound Transit, Rolovich and Lambert | Roegner

All of the reporters I know are ethical and trustworthy. But I… Continue reading

Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at thebrunells@msn.com.
When it comes to power, Washington may be falling behind | Brunell

For years, Washington state masked its high business and regulatory costs with… Continue reading

tsr
Domestic violence victims need more housing options

Column: As a result of stay-at-home measures from the pandemic, domestic violence rates have worsened in King County.

Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at thebrunells@msn.com.
Why should the threat to Taiwan concern us in WA? | Brunell

Unfortunately, what happens in Taiwan doesn’t just stay in Taiwan — it… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Election 2021: Closer look at King County races | Roegner

The race for Mayor of Seattle will dominate the regional media, but… Continue reading

Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at thebrunells@msn.com.
Our economy works when consumers pick winners | Brunell

Poland and America are like two trains passing each other in opposite… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Big-time politics: Redistricting for 2022 elections | Roegner

Based on new census data, which shows Washington state has grown by… Continue reading