Winlock's annexation plan will be open to public discussion at 6:00 p.m. on Friday September 8. All those interested in the annexation are encouraged to attend to hear and comment on the code changes, tax assessment, law enforcement, fire protection, and infrastructure costs associated with the annexation. This may be the last opportunity for residents in the area taken by the annexation to make a record of their concerns.
The City of Winlock has been telling the residents that they will work with them on ordinances to protect the farm land, while, in-fact, the new "development code" takes away those rights. These citizens should be concerned.
This annexation does not only affect the residents in the UGA (Urban Growth Area), it affects every citizen in the city as well. As you drive around Winlock, you will see many homes that are in violation of the city ordinances. They do not have effective code enforcement or some of these properties would be cleaned up. Recently, a Winlock woman fell on a crack in the sidewalk and she has been treated beyond unfairly by the city and their insurance company. The city can not take care of the problems they have and they want to add more.
Kathy Chastain, who has organized many of the residents in the UGA stated, "This Friday, September 8, 6;00 p.m. at the community building the Winlock City Mayor and council will be hosting a public hearing on the annexation of the UGA This is the only time all residents of Winlock have the opportunity to ask questions of this elected body before the annexation takes place on October 1. I encourage everyone to please attend or message me for questions to be added to a list that I will be providing to the council."
Eric Bernard, concerned citizen in Lewis County stated, "Have Winlock elected leaders met with the Lewis County Assessor to assign every parcel in the UGA a new tax code? If that new code doesn't happen ASAP, each UGA taxpayers will be unfairly and unjustly over-taxed when the city assesses the $50,000 in property tax the mayor deferred in 2023 (so he could claim Winlock property taxes are lower than the county). When will the city council have control over the Winlock city clerk when it comes to investing city funds? At present, there is no oversight; the clerk or mayor has complete control over how and where the funds will be invested. Recently, the mayor closed the $135,000 city savings account with our local Timberland bank and 'invested' the funds elsewhere." A mayor who will not shop locally is a mayor who does not care about his community, it's that simple. It is well known that the Mayor does not support local businesses and has even boycotted several of them.
Jeff Skutley stated, "As an architect of over 45 years doing development projects, I have learned the key to success is to include the citizens in the process from the start." The City of Winlock has failed to do this, instead they have only listened to the corporations.
Kathy Chastain reached out to the city so they would make the hearing available via zoom. The city has not gotten back to her as of press time.