Ing-Moody-pBy Ann McCreary

After a visit to Olympia last week, Twisp Mayor Soo Ing-Moody said she is hopeful that funds to address ongoing problems with Twisp’s Town Hall building may be included in the 2014 state budget.

Ing-Moody met with local legislative representatives during her trip to the state Capitol for a legislative conference sponsored by the Association of Washington Cities (AWC).

During a meeting with Rep. Cary Condotta (R-East Wenatchee), who represents the 12th district in Olympia, Ing-Moody described the problems the town has faced in trying to deal with structural and other problems with Town Hall.

As a result, Condotta said he would support an application for state funding in the 2014 capital budget to help Twisp address the issue, Ing-Moody said.

“If approved, Twisp would finally be able to begin the initial phase of design for Town Hall in preparation for separate application later for construction,” Ing-Moody said. “Needless to say this is a great opportunity for Twisp and I am absolutely hopeful that with Representative Condotta’s support we will have a chance to finally meet our great infrastructural need,” she said.

Deficiencies in the building came to light in 2011 when the roof began leaking and had to be repaired. The discovery of the leaky roof revealed a number of other problems with the building, including structural weaknesses, hollow exterior masonry walls, lack of adequate fire breaks, poor ventilation, uninsulated windows, and security issues in the council chamber.

Ing-Moody researched grants and loans to try to address the building problems, but found that financing for the project was not available.

The mayor planned to meet this week with members of a Town Hall building committee to determine the amount of funding to be requested for the building upgrade. Due to the extent of the problems with the existing structure, she said the solution would likely be construction of a new building.

If a new Town Hall building is built, Ing-Moody said she would like it to remain at its current location on Twisp’s main downtown thoroughfare, Glover Street.

Ing-Moody was one of three mayors asked to prepare a speech for the AWC conference in Olympia, held Jan. 29 – 30. She spoke about the need for “municipalities and the state … to see each other more as partners during tough economic times, not less.”

Cities and towns “overwhelmingly provide the support and service needs for economic vitality and social well-being to an ever-growing majority of people,” Ing-Moody said.

Citing statistics from AWC, Ing-Moody said that “64 percent of the state’s population resides in a municipality, with trends showing that since 1985, growth has primarily been centered in cities and towns as compared to unincorporated areas.” The total population of cities and towns has increased 103 percent during that period, compared to an 11 percent increase in unincorporated areas.

At the same time, financial resources from the state to municipalities have declined substantially, including reductions in revenues from liquor profits and taxes and redistribution of funds from the public works trust fund that helps municipalities meet infrastructure needs.

“As a town that is already accustomed to running lean, these trends make us incredibly vulnerable to unforeseeable threats of emergency,” Ing-Moody said.

In addition to meeting with Condotta, Ing-Moody also met with the district’s other representatives, Sen. Linda Evans-Parlette and Rep. Brad Hawkins, both Republicans.