Op/Ed by Herb Gerhardt: Belfair Commissioners Meeting Cancelled

op-ed disclaimerReminder:  There is NOT a meeting in Belfair

So here we are again.  This is the second 5th Tuesday Meeting in Belfair that was cancelled.  The last time the commissioners stated there were no items on the agenda.  I presume it is the same reason this time although they did not state why.

The reason the County Commissioners began the unofficial 5th Tuesday meetings in Belfair was to show the North End Residents that we are in fact part of Mason County and should not have to travel all the way to Shelton to attend meetings, express opinions and ask questions.  The previous group of County Commissioners established these Belfair Meetings to inform the North End Residents as to the state of county affairs.  These were informative meetings, well attended and much appreciated by the residents.  It also allowed the local residents to ask questions on county issues or whatever else they wanted to ask.  I have always attended those  5th Tuesday meetings and enjoyed being given an update as to the current county affairs.

I guess the present County Commissioners no longer feel that they need to waste their time to keep us in the loop.  Or are they afraid we might ask questions that might embarrass them?

The last time they stated they did not have any agenda items so there was no need for a meeting.  Well I have a few questions I would love to have them address at a public meeting in Belfair:

  1. What is the status of the Belfair Sewer System?  Is it operating as designed and expected?  If not, why not?
  2. I understand that WA Dept of Ecology has issued numerous violations on the operation of the Belfair Sewer System, so what are these violations and what is the county doing in resolving them?  I am sure most of the residents don’t even know that any violations have occurred.
  3. What is the status of Phase 2 and 3 in expanding the Belfair Sewer System?  We need more hookups and the sooner the better to resolve the debt issue.
  4. What is the financial status of the Belfair Sewer System?  What did this system really cost and what is the outstanding debt and how are we paying it?  Yes, I agree that the entire county needs to pay this debt since it was the commissioners who caused that system to be built, not the people in Belfair!  The Growth Management Act did not require the construction of this sewer system as the commissioners at that time insisted.  The GMA did require to study a sewer system for all UGA’s but not their construction.  The commissioners made that choice for the people of Belfair, so in my mind, the County Commissioners are responsible for the costs…….  Yes, I acknowledge that two of our present three commissioners were not involved in making those decisions but they and future commissioners are all now stuck in assuring these payments are made.
  5. What is the status of the Web Hill sewage disposal site?  They are presently operating on an interim permit and WA Department of Ecology has stated at public meetings that they are not sure they will be able to renew their operating permit.  The Belfair Sewer System along with the other county owned and operated sewer systems dispose of their solids at this site.  So why has this problem not been highlighted to the public and what will the county do if this site is shut down?
  6. Now that the County Commissioners voted to put the Metropolitan Park District on the November Ballot, what is the county planning on doing with the present County Parks if this issue passes?  I have heard statements that the county might decide to just keep operating the existing parks as they have been, so what is the purpose of creating another public entity such as a Metropolitan Park District?  Yes, I do hope that this issue passes but only if the County Commissioners will turn over the operation of all existing parks to this new Metro Park District and let that district operate all existing and future parks and trails.

So here we are where the second 5th Tuesday Unofficial Commissioners Meeting in Belfair has been cancelled because they have no business to discuss with the North End Residents.  Maybe I am the ONLY person that has such questions or are these issues the commissioners do not want to discuss with the residents?

Herb Gerhardt, Belfair, WA

The opinions expressed in this document are my personal opinions and not those of any organization I might belong to or am associated with.