WSF ad hoc committee formed

Incoming council members tackled their first issue Wednesday as servants of their community debating over how to proceed with $2 million from 2010 the Washington State Ferry settlement.

The council decided to form an ad hoc committee to help guide the use of WSF funds. The committee consist of council members Anne Blair, Debbie Lester and Dave Ward. The committee will be charged with suggesting a process for how to handle the money.

A popular yet debated idea at Wednesday's council meeting, is to form a limited term commission. If a commission is formed, council will suggest parameters to guide their decisions in keeping with previous conditions placed on the funds. The council voted in December to set conditions on the money including restricting the money for one-time water-related purposes, placing the money in a special account, and requiring a majority of five council votes to approve use of the funds.

Council Member Kristen Hytopoulos spoke in favor of forming a citizen advisory commission for a limited term, who would look at proposals for the money and ultimately come to the council with recommendations on how to use it.

Council Member Bob Scales disagreed and felt that a commission may bring personal preferences toward one use over another while delaying action for the using the money. He said that he would not like to see the money sitting around for another long period of time while not being used for any purpose.

“It’s a difficult decision to choose from all the options and all have different constituencies on the island but at some point the council has to make a decision and the sooner we make a decision the better,” Scales said. “Right now the city has $2 million burning a hole in its pocket. (A commission is) just going to delay the decision making which has to be done by us.”

The ad hoc committee will meet within the next two weeks and report back to council.



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