How much should our mayor be paid?

July 31, 2013 07:03 by Ryan
As the Skagit Valley Herald reported a while back, the City Council recently discussed a proposal to increase the mayor’s base salary from $103,663 to $110,000. I can’t imagine why we’re considering this during the “toughest budget year in 19 years,” but since the mayor has proposed it, let’s talk about it. The M... [More]

The City Council Doesn’t Read the Contracts It Approves

July 15, 2013 23:59 by Ryan
But it really should. Tonight’s agenda requested approval for three contracts that were not included in the packet, including one for divers to remove milfoil from Heart Lake. When I asked that it be reviewed by the City Attorney before approval, Mayor Maxwell protested that he was responsible for the attorney review and that we didn't need t... [More]

City Negotiating Services Agreement with Samish Tribe

June 21, 2013 22:33 by Ryan
Over the past 18 months, the City of Anacortes has been negotiating an agreement with the Samish Indian Nation to provide municipal services (e.g., police, fire, water, and sewer services) to a future Samish casino at the intersection of Highway 20 and Thompson Road. Earlier this month, the mayor sent a letter to the tribe’s chairman noting t... [More]

Improving City Council Meetings

January 13, 2013 12:22 by Ryan
At a couple of recent meetings, the City Council has plodded through a set of summary procedural rules that we’ve spent a great deal of money having our city attorney draft. This has been a pointless exercise for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that we’re not learning anything about the very point of parliamentary procedure (to enabl... [More]

Charging for Records Retrievals will Curb Access

September 20, 2012 22:54 by Ryan
Also published in the Anacortes American on September 12, 2012: A recent letter to the editor (“Public records ‘witch hunt’ cost city a bundle,” September 5) claims that requests for public records are excessively burdening the City of Anacortes and argues the Legislature should amend the Public Records Act so that requestors can be billed for res... [More]

What does Envision Skagit say about industrial land?

September 6, 2012 22:30 by Ryan
Several proponents of the Tethys UGA expansion application have tried to use the County’s Envision Skagit 2060project (an EPA-funded study to project growth in Skagit County through the year 2060) to justify the addition of industrial land to the City of Anacortes for the Tethys water plant. The Envision Skagit Citizen Committee issued an 85-page... [More]

What do you want to know about the Tethys UGA expansion proposal?

August 21, 2012 23:58 by Ryan
On Tuesday, September 4, the City Council will discuss the proposed resolution to ratify the mayor’s unauthorized application to the County to expand the Anacortes Urban Growth Area on behalf of Tethys Enterprises (ostensibly for a bottled water plant). A number of commenters at last night’s meeting had concerns about Tethys’s pla... [More]

Who sets the City Council agenda?

July 19, 2012 01:55 by Ryan
A couple of recent letters to the editor in the Anacortes American have highlighted a tense exchange between the mayor and myself at the June 4 Council meeting. The upshot of the dispute was that the three-member Council Planning Committee wanted to add a discussion item to the next Council study session agenda. Under the Council's adopted rul... [More]

Here Comes the Debate on the Hearing Examiner

June 26, 2012 22:38 by Ryan
The Anacortes City Council is (finally) poised to debate the Planning Department's proposal to adopt a Hearing Examiner, which the City has been slowly working through since 2010. Although we've had several meetings about the proposal, we have yet to actually debate the central issue: do we replace the citizen Planning Commission with an ... [More]

Benchmarking Anacortes Governance

March 10, 2012 13:43 by Ryan
Although the Mayor rarely provides the City Council much notice of upcoming agenda items, last week was especially egregious when we received the City’s 200-page Water System Plan just four days before the vote. Although other councilmembers have complained about the lack of time we have to review agenda items, the Mayor has brushed off those... [More]