Napavine without budget, Winlock without permits beginning Jan. 1

By Lynnette Hoffman

The City of Napavine had quite the shake up on Tuesday, Dec. 20, with two City Council members resigning their positions. The move also affects the City of Winlock, which utilizes Napavine for its permitting process.

LaVerne Haslett and Armando Galaviz both resigned their positions on the Napavine City Council due to their disagreement with the proposed budget. The City Council had met for the second time in the past few weeks to vote on the budget, but it did not pass, and now with the resignations the council does not have a quorum to approve it.

There are two major issues at stake. One is the employment of Community Development Director Steve Ashley, who lives in Arizona and makes $39.23 per hour, double what most of the employees of the city make. The second issue is that the mayor wants to reduce the treasurer's hours to 32 per week.

LaVerne Haslett, who herself held the treasurer position for many years, was against such a move.

"The work load for that position requires 40 hours per week," Haslett insisted.

The biggest issue concerning the community development position seems to be that Ashley does not live in the area.

"We gave him a $10.00 an hour raise, so he could make the trips to Napavine from Arizona, and he hasn't been up in months," Haslett complained.

Because of the situation with the community development position, Haslett stated her belief that the permitting process is taking too long.

Asked why she resigned from the council, Haslett said, "I do not want to be a part of something that is so hidden, not transparent, that does not help the citizens of Napavine."

"It's my hope the citizens of Napavine will rise up and do what is right for themselves," she concluded.

The City of Winlock uses Napavine for their permit process. Unless an emergency appointment of a city council member is made in order to immediately approve the proposed budget, the City of Winlock will not be able to have permits issued after Jan. 1.