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PUYALLUP: Writer has a too-vivid imagination

Letter by Clifford C. Craig, Buckley on Dec. 29, 2010 at 12:18 pm with 1 Comment »
December 29, 2010 2:02 pm

Re: “Deceptive ethics exposed” (online letter, 12-27).

This letter is at best uninformed and reckless; at worst it is slanderous and libelous. Concealment of information and the deception of the Puyallup City Council and the public exist only in the writer’s imagination. The council and citizens, including the letter writer, can come to my office any time for more information or better understanding.

Utility fund balances for 2010 or 2011 have been presented to the council and the public on May 18, Aug. 31, Oct. 5 and 19, and Nov. 9 and 16 in meetings still available on the city’s website. Additionally, all the financial reports of the last couple years are also available on the city’s website for all to see.

The fact is that the council and the public certainly have more information than ever before.

Ther writer is correct that the reasons for issuing bonds are “obvious to anyone”:

• RCW 43.09.210 expressly prohibits one public service industry (like water) from benefiting another (like landfill).

• Fiscally prudent reserves for reasonably foreseeable contingencies of the utilities are substantial. One major line break alone could require millions of dollars in immediate needs. A two-month reserve for operating contingencies, three months for capital contingencies, plus the required reserves for debt service per bond covenants comes to about $9.1 million for Puyallup.

• The 2011 budget draws down the utility reserves by $2.9 million, so yes, if cash were paid for the settlement, capital projects would be deferred.

(Craig is Puyallup’s finance director.)

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  1. “Adjusted Budget: In 2010 the city reduced its budget by $7.8 million dollars. This was the amount paid to Central Pierce Fire District in 2009 for fire protection services. As a result, the City Council decided to return the savings ($7.8 million) back to the taxpayers through lower property and utility taxes.”

    Can the City Council undecide to return the savings and use the money for the bond and a little more padding for the reserves?

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