The following Letter to the Editor was submitted to South Puget Sound News by DuPont Resident Carol Estep:
I will be voting YES for the City of DuPont Proposition 1 on the November ballot. I volunteer one day a week at the DuPont Museum and every week I am told by out of town visitors what a beautiful city we live in and how lucky we are to be here.
My husband and I moved to DuPont in 2001 and for the past 11 years we have paid low property taxes and yet somehow the City has managed to provide us with the services we needed to live a comfortable life. While we have a small police force, we have always felt safe. We have been lucky enough not to have needed the services provided by the fire department, but have always known they were available. We love to walk the trails in DuPont and when our grandkids were younger, take them to the parks within a couple blocks of our home. The City staff have always been helpful and courteous whenever we needed their help.
I have heard people say that the general fund should only be used for the top priorities of the community- EMS, Police and Fire. In other words, Safety. I believe Public Safety comes in more forms than just police and fire protection. Street lights, well maintained streets, safe drinking water, parks and recreational opportunities for our children are all forms of safety.
The last major tax increase for the city was in 2003 when citizens approved a property tax increase of $1.32 per thousand dollars of assessed value. Residents did vote to renew the 50 cent EMS levy in 2011, but that did not give the City any new revenue. Thank you one and all.
The City of DuPont has some of the same bills that you and I pay; electric, water, natural gas, gasoline, maintenance. When the cost of gasoline goes up for us, it also goes up for the City. You and I can decide not to make a trip to town or to turn out some lights to save money but that is not an option for the City. They can’t decide to postpone a police or fire call out to save money on gas and I hope they wont turn off the street lights.
Right now DuPont has 3 fire fighters on each shift. With a current population of approximately 8400 people and all the new apartments being built in town, I don’t believe we are sufficiently covered. There are 12 hours of every day that we have only 1 policeman on duty. For certain call outs he/she can not respond until back up comes from Steilacoom or somewhere else.
The big debate over whether to vote yes or no on Proposition 1 seems to be whether or not the new Civic Center was financed in the correct method. Hind sight and second guessing is a game we all play at some point in our lives and after listening to all the arguments, I believe the residents of DuPont need to vote yes to get DuPont moving in a positive direction. I want to keep DuPont a great place to live. I don’t want to see our parks and open spaces deteriorate or my home lose it’s value. If cuts have to be made to our fire and police departments, this could cause our personal homeowners insurance to increase. I would rather pay the extra property tax to the city than pay more to my insurance company for fire and home insurance.
I attend most of the City Council meetings, and while I don’t always agree with what is being said or the vote that is taken, I am convinced our Council is doing a good job. I believe they are working hard to keep DuPont a great place to live. I don’t believe anyone is trying to hide anything nor do I consider finding a way to come up with funds for the city to meet its debt obligation a bail out to the City Council. If it is a bail out, it is a bail out to ourselves the residents of DuPont, as we have not been willing to pass the parks or fire levies in the past.
Mayor Grayum has said in order to get the Cities finances back on solid footing, we will need to raise new revenue and make some cuts. Having to make cuts is a reality we will all share together and a property tax increase is the most stable and equitable tax the City can levy.
DuPont is a great place to live because of the citizen’s who are willing to participate in open discussions, provide constructive criticism, give of their time through volunteering and serving on committees/boards/City Council and taking pride in how their city and community looks. This includes being willing to pay for the services we expect and need in order to live in a safe and well maintained community.
Should the Citizens of DuPont pass Proposition 1? In my opinion YES.
- Carol Estep, DuPont resident