Members voice concern and opposition to the charter-code change
The Bonney Lake City Council will consider a resolution opposing Proposition No. 1, the charter-code government issue, that will be on the Feb. 3 special election ballot.
The council was scheduled to vote on the resolution Tuesday.
The special election asks voters to consider changing from a code city, which is the current form of government, to a charter-code form.
If the charter-code form of government is approved Feb. 3, 15 freeholders or charter commissioners have six months to write a charter outlining a type of government for the city. The charter must be approved by the citizens in a second election before the charter-code government would take effect.
Included on the Feb. 3 ballot with the change of government issue are 15 candidates seeking 14 freeholder positions. If the charter-code government is approved the 15th freeholder position will be appointed by the City Council or the commissioners.
Councilman Dan Decker collected signatures for the charter-code petition. The councilman submitted the petition to the city March 17 and a special election was scheduled.
Councilwoman Laurie Carter brought the resolution before the council at the Jan. 6 City Council workshop. The resolution opposes Proposition No. 1 and the change to a charter-code form of government.
“I’m personally opposed to this (Proposition No. 1),” Carter said. “The election procedure is confusing and chaotic and it somewhat puts the government on hold while all this is decided. It potentially jeopardizes staff and the cost of time and money is too much and I’m still not clear on the reason behind it.”
Councilman Mark Hamilton said he will support the resolution because of confusion over the issue.
“Many people I’ve talked to think it is coming from the city,” Hamilton said. “That it is somehow the council’s desire to move this charter change over.”
Hamilton said he thought it was important for the council to speak with one voice in support of the resolution and opposing Proposition No. 1.
“This whole resolution is a clear, defined definition to the people that this elected body does not support any change in the form of government we have now,” Hamilton said.
Councilman David Bowen said he would abstain because, “I believe the people have enough knowledge to vote for or against something without my recommendation. They don’t need it so I’m not going to offer it.”
Decker pointed out the number of people who signed the petition and said, “I believe everyone is concerned about the way the council has acted tonight and has acted in the past about the particular charter form of government issue. Those are a lot of people to upset. Be my guest, upset them.”
Councilman Jim Rackley said he has also heard confusion about the change of government vote.
“I have noticed the same kind of questions,” Rackley said. “Why are we doing this and why are we wasting all this money? I have to explain to them this did not come from the council. We need to let the population know we don’t support this.”
City officials have estimated changing to a charter-code government will cost taxpayers from $144,500 to $311,000.
Decker has disputed the city’s figures and stated at the workshop the estimates have added to the confusion concerning the election.
Reach Dennis Box at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-802-8209.