Tax money used to destroy homes?

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Opportunity Fund grant recommended to fund destruction of 33 homes

The Opportunity Fund board of directors made a recommendation to the county commissioners to grant almost one million dollars for the destruction of 33 perfectly good homes.

Quoting from a letter written To Clallam County Commissioners from Alan Barnard, chairman of the Opportunity Fund Board, ‚ÄúRecommendation, to the Clallam County Commissioners, to approve a grant from the Opportunity Fund in the amount of $901,200.00 to fund the Mount Angeles View Phase 1 Redevelopment, Lots G1/G3 site Development‚ÄĚ

If this opaque procedure is allowed the county taxpayers will pay to have 33 homes, in which low-income people are now living, crushed by a backhoe, loaded onto a dump truck and hauled to the city dump.

The Opportunity Fund is sales tax money sent to the state and then refunded to the county for the sole purpose of economic development infrastructure.  For this fund to be used to destroy perfectly good homes is indefensible.

There has been no effort by anyone in city or county government to re-purpose these homes for low-income residents.  For the amount of the grant to destroy these homes they could be moved to privately-owned lots or even city/county owned lots and made available for struggling families in the community.  Of course this would require some out of the box thinking which is in short supply hereabouts.

A study done by the local Elwha Tribe shows these homes could be moved and repurposed for approximately $20,000 each.  There would be some other expenses getting utilities hooked up but still someone can spend $25,000 for a perfectly good home that, when relocated, would be worth four times that amount.

This would keep these homes on the tax rolls and allow a family in need of a good ‚Äústarter-home‚ÄĚ to get a toe-hold on the American Dream.

We hope the commissioners will send this one back to the drawing board until a better, less wasteful plan can be adopted to re purpose these homes.  Rumor has it these homes could be purchased for one dollar if the buyer is ready to move it from the site.

Anyone interested in purchasing one of these homes should contact the Peninsula Housing Authority at:

http://peninsulapha.org/ Peninsula Housing Authority. 2603 S. Francis Street. Port Angeles WA 98362. 360-452-7631. info@peninsulapha.org

If you think it unwise to use Opportunity Fund money for such destructive purposes contact your county commissioner and let them know your feelings.

3 Comments

  1. Bryan Frazier

    Use of Opportunity Fund to destroy and replace 33 homes may be an illegal use. The law is very specific. Note that according to the law, the Opportunity fund must be use only for PUBLIC FACILITIES designed for “those purposes which facilitate the creation or retention of businesses and jobs in a county.”

    How does utilizing the Opportunity Fund to destroy and replace 33 perfectly good home meet this definition of “those purposes which facilitate the creation or retention of businesses and jobs in a county.”? It DOESN’T and may therefore be ILLEGAL USE OF THE OPPORTUNITY FUND and VIOLATE the intent of the law detailed below.

    INTENT‚ÄĒ2004 c 130: “It is the intent of the legislature in enacting this 2004 act to reaffirm the original goals of the 1997 act which first provided distressed counties with the local option sales and use tax contained in RCW 82.14.370. The local option tax is now available to all rural counties and the continuing legislative goal for RCW 82.14.370 is to promote the creation, attraction, expansion, and retention of businesses and provide for family-wage jobs.” [ 2004 c 130 ¬ß 1.]

    RCW 82.14.370
    Sales and use tax for public facilities in rural counties.

    (3)(a) Moneys collected under this section may only be used to finance public facilities serving economic development purposes in rural counties and finance personnel in economic development offices. The public facility must be listed as an item in the officially adopted county overall economic development plan, or the economic development section of the county’s comprehensive plan, or the comprehensive plan of a city or town located within the county for those counties planning under RCW 36.70A.040.

    (c) The definitions in this section apply throughout this section.
    (i) “Public facilities” means bridges, roads, domestic and industrial water facilities, sanitary sewer facilities, earth stabilization, storm sewer facilities, railroads, electrical facilities, natural gas facilities, research, testing, training, and incubation facilities in innovation partnership zones designated under RCW 43.330.270, buildings, structures, telecommunications infrastructure, transportation infrastructure, or commercial infrastructure, and port facilities in the state of Washington.
    (ii) “Economic development purposes” means those purposes which facilitate the creation or retention of businesses and jobs in a county.
    (iii) “Economic development office” means an office of a county, port districts, or an associate development organization as defined in RCW 43.330.010, which promotes economic development purposes within the county.
    http://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=82.14.370

    Reply
  2. Bert furdy

    Backhoe operator retains their job in this county…doesn’t seem to be such high bar to cross. Public facilities could be “planned” improved infrastructure once demo done? While I agree sustainable reuse or demo for salvage may be more holistic approach obvious Local government Bases decision making on individual over community interest. Follow the money.

    Reply
  3. Bryan Frazier

    It’s apparent, according to city and county documents, that this project wasn’t listed on the city’s comprehensive plan therefore rendering the plan ineligible for Opportunity Funds.

    A request from the BOCC to the Prosecuting Attorney’s office, David Alvarez Chief Civil Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, confirms the fact that the PHA Plan was not listed at the time of the Grant Request from the Opportunity Fund. Quote; “All parties are aware that the project is not specifically listed in the City of Port Angeles’ Comprehensive Plan, yet,” promoting the BOCC to declare a “budget emergency Public Hearing on February 28th, 2017. to add the spending authority to the Opportunity Fund budget.” Placing the grant request cart before the legally eligible for Opportunity Funds horse.

    In a slight of hand move, knowing full well this PHA Plan has been in the works since 2012. In a letter to County Administrator Jim Jones from Nathan A. West, COPA Director of Community and Economic Development, the City of Port Angeles decided to amend the city comprehensive plan, “The City would offer to immediately amend our Capital Facilities to incorporate the project. A Capital Facilities Plan amendment could be completed by February 21, 2017.” Earlier than the Port Angeles Municipal Code March 31, 2017 scheduled annual amendment period to include the PHA redevelopment thereby making it eligible for approval. The city and county documents proves this. The PHA plan was not listed and had not been listed since 2012. Now, the BOCC want’s to declare a “BUDGET EMERGENCY” to award the funds as the COPA rushes to amend their Comprehensive Plan after the fact with the full approval of the Prosecuting Attorney.

    The LAW is clear; RCW 82.14.370
    Sales and use tax for public facilities in rural counties.

    (3)(a) Moneys collected under this section may only be used to finance public facilities serving economic development purposes in rural counties and finance personnel in economic development offices. The public facility must be listed as an item in the officially adopted county overall economic development plan, or the economic development section of the county’s comprehensive plan, or the comprehensive plan of a city or town located within the county for those counties planning under RCW 36.70A.040.

    It is clear that the PHA project should have been REJECTED until such time it is properly included in the COPA Comprehensive Plan after the City of Port Angeles Municipal Code scheduled amendment date of March 31, 2017 when the COPA can then LEGALLY ask for an Opportunity Fund Grant at taxpayers expense.

    The good old boys hard at work in the back rooms wheeling and dealing for cash.

    NOTE From County Documents: “If the BOCC approves the PHA request AND the EDC payment for 2017 that is in the budget AND follows through on the 2007 promise to spend $3.5 MILLION of the O. F. money on a SEWER PROJECT in EACH Commissioner District….Then we will have only $853,995.00 of UNCOMMITTED O. F. Monies available for the next 5 years.”

    Put that in the County’s $2.8 MILLION DOLLAR BUDGET DEFICIT and smoke it.

    Reply

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