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Council delays decision on WSF another week

The City Council will consider making a final decision on the Washington State Ferry settlement offer at its Dec. 15 meeting.

WSF presented the city with the option of either a lease agreement or financial settlement of $2 million to resolve the long-standing dispute between the two agencies. The financial settlement offer expires at the end of the year.

The council listened to more than an hour of presentations and public comment on the WSF options. The Parker Group presented its proposal for a boat yard facility and the Friends of Waterfront Park group also presented its proposal to update the city dock with the $2 million financial settlement. Numerous community members also stressed the third option of choosing neither in order to ensure the city is being presented with the best possible opportunities.

The WSF Ad Hoc Committee, which was composed of members of the Harbor Commission and the council, also presented its recommendation to the rest of the council. The committee stated that both projects were found to be feasible options and would present a host of benefits both economically and recreationally for the city.

The committee stated that its preferred outcome would be to do both projects, according to Council member Debbi Lester.

Councilor Barry Peters said he did not feel the boat haul out facility was a feasible option and prepared a separate report and conclusion from the rest of the Ad Hoc Committee.

Several council members expressed concern that the city might lose the $2 million financial settlement if it did not make an immediate decision.

The governor has called for the legislature to meet in a special session beginning on Friday to begin the process of cutting millions from the state budget before Christmas.

“I think we are at a grave risk of losing the money. I think there is significant risk if we wait until next week to make a decision,” said Mayor Bob Scales.

Several councilors were uneasy with rushing a decision without the full council present and failing to notify the public that a final decision would be made. Only five council members were present, with one councilor participating via telephone.

The decision will be made on Dec. 15.

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