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The Times 

Letter to the editor,

 

September 24, 2020



Letter to the editor,

The Mayor and City Council Public Safety Standing Committee (“Committee”) contests claims made by Commissioner Ryan Rundell in the September 10, 2020 edition of The Times.

As provided in the June 22, 2020 Press Release, the County did send notice in May 2019 requesting negotiations on the interlocal agreements. Though, at the time, the City and County had actually been in formal negotiations since mid-2017; and, the City had requested level of services (“LOS”) and budget information dating as far back as 2016. Our inquiries have remained largely unanswered (to see a complete timeline and other information on the negotiations visit htt ps:/ / http://www.daytonwa.com/ our-community/ information/ city-news).

In an effort to move discussion forward and based on our own research, the City has attempted to create LOS and verify expenses and income related to law enforcement, dispatch, and court services. What little the City has discovered does not substantiate the County’s claims.

One example, the County asserts that 80% of the Sheriff ‘s Office calls for service are within the Dayton city limits. However, Columbia County Sheriff ‘s Office Weekly Incident Logs posted on Facebook do not substantiate this claim.

Another example, Commissioner Rundell alleges the City “...receives 61% of district court case services.” In a letter received February 8, 2018, Judge G. Scott Marinella advised that Columbia County District Court/Dayton Municipal Court “....does not keep time records relating to the cases that come through our court.” It further states, “There is simply no way to accurately come up with an estimate. Some charges resolve in a simple, straight-forward manner while the same charge with another defendant may go to a trial.” Correspondingly, the Washington Courts “Courts of Limited Jurisdiction, Annual Report, Annual Caseload Report,” 2012-2019, provides that Dayton Municipal Court, on an average, is 27% of Columbia County District Court’s caseload. 27% is a far cry from 61% and, in our judgement, contradicts Commissioner Rundell’s claim that paying 35% for these services appears to be a “reasonable and generous offer.”

It is our belief the County’s attempting to pressure the City into carelessly agreeing to an increase in compensation from $440,941 to $640,467, or $199,526, annually. It is our stance that making a recommendation to the City Council to authorize new interlocal agreements, with an increase in compensation without receiving a defensible need from the County for said increases would be an exceptionally irresponsible act on behalf of the citizens we represent.

The City Council has an obligation to its constituents to understand: 1) What LOS are currently being provided under the existing agreements; and, 2) Any other information that may be relevant in making a decision; because, if approved, the increase in costs will likely result in reduction of other services such as park amenities and/or cemetery maintenance.

The County’s resistance to provide reasonable statistics, in our opinion, has delayed the negotiation process for three years. The Committee recognizes the benefits of maintaining cooperative relationships. With the help of mediation, as recommended by the Committee, we are encouraged that cooperation between the City and County will be negotiated fairly and equitably resulting in a lasting partnership.

RespectfuIly,

Dan Nysoe, City Council Member & Chairman

Michael Paris, City Council & Committee Member

Byron Kaczmarski, City Council & Committee Member

Zac Weatherford, Mayor

 

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