In response to the August 26 "Vader News" column, I feel the need to comment on the opinion and misinformation that was presented. The Vader staff and council (of which I am a member) are persons of integrity that you can trust and rely upon. We have the right people involved at the right time in Vader's history to make the changes that will shape a better city for years to come. Being open and accessible is important, which is why the council meeting recordings have been online for nearly two years at: www.youtube.com/user/vaderwa
Replacement of already existing faucet or toilet fixtures does not require permitting and no new permitting requirements have been added. People of the city have been asking the council to take action on falling down or burned out buildings that are obvious safety issues. We had to create an entire building permit and inspection process to have legal authority to enforce building codes. Currently, obtaining a building permit is a two-part process requiring permits from both Vader and Lewis County, each with fees. With our city taking full permitting ownership, we will increase convenience and speed with local permit filing (county has a 2-4 week turnaround), will have local control of fees (example: county permit for a project of $2000 in size is $90.85, Vader is $76.50), and can hire state certified inspectors that best represents the city and exhibits the qualities that we value.
In 2009 the city went through financial crisis. The paid city staff were let go and an all volunteer staff took ownership, helping the city to stabilize. New staff were eventually hired at pay rates far below what would be expected in a similar job and sized city. Pay has remained relatively flat since that time. Using data from the Association of Washington Cities, we compared pay of similar sized cities statewide. We adopted an advancement system that nearly every other city uses. An employee in our city, with equivalent job type and experience, will now be paid a similar rate of pay compared to other cities of our size. This will keep our city competitive in pay, enable us to retain our experienced employees, and if needed, attract quality employees in the future that would expect these same pay rates. In fact, further demonstrating the staff's expertise and importance, the city has passed yet another regularly scheduled state financial audit. This continues to keep us on course to reacquire our water system from the county in the next few years, saving our residents money in a variety of ways.
A common practice in many cities, an idea was presented requiring landlords to have buildings inspected for safety. No council action has taken place. Review the last few minutes of the August 13 meeting at the above web address to hear the idea for yourself.
Please come to a council meeting and share your thoughts on this or any issue that you feel the city should address.