From a board of county commissioners that rails against what it sees as precipitous, unchallengeable state or federal actions that are taken with no regard to local concerns comes this gem: cancellation of dozens of no-spray agreements affecting properties along county roads — with no notice of non-compliance, no opportunity for appeal and no chance of ever getting back into the no-spray program.
Wow. How’s that for due process? Charged, convicted, sentenced, notified. Talk about cracking down on the dangerous elements of society — people who don’t want their plants, pets or persons impacted by potentially dangerous chemicals.
Sarcasm aside, doesn’t it seem remotely reasonable that some of the non-compliant people would, given more notice and a bit more time, make efforts to get back in compliance and stay there?
Noxious weeds are a serious issue and it’s the county’s responsibility to have an effective control program in place for some 1,300 miles of roadway. That’s a big and challenging chore, and the county’s public works department takes it seriously.
But public works doesn’t set broad policies. The board of commissioners does. Now might be a good time for the commissioners to demonstrate that they aren’t really like those big oppressive government bodies they so distrust.
Something to report
It’s apparently possible to operate a public service district without ever filing an annual report to the State Auditor’s office. But it’s not necessarily in the best interests of the district or its constituents.
We learned this from a story in last week’s paper about the most recent auditor’s report for Okanogan County Fire District 6. To be sure, the auditor’s office found that the district complied with applicable state laws and regulations and with its own procedures during the audit period. Nothing to worry about there, it seems.
But the district has not been filing annual reports, a deficiency the auditor’s office pointed out in a letter to the district. Potential issues include, the letter said, a lack of timely information about district operations, lack of transparency to district residents, and absence of relevant information that the state government and Legislature use in their decision-making processes.
A more immediate issue is that failure to file annual reports could affect the district’s ability to win grants from state and federal agencies, could negatively impact bond ratings, and could make it more difficult for the district to borrow money. The district is currently preparing a loan application to the Washington State Treasurer’s Office for funds to help finance construction of a new fire hall in Winthrop.
To its credit, District 6 is working to remedy the annual report problem, which is a good thing. It’s more than paperwork — it’s a way for the district to demonstrate its accountability to the constituents it serves.
We can all learn
Part 2 of Don Reddington’s series on living with Alzheimer’s Disease appears in this week’s paper. If anything inspiring can come out of this terrible affliction’s ravages, what Don is accomplishing with his columns brilliantly qualifies. Our learning process will parallel Don’s coping process over the next several months. And learning is the best we can do at this point if we’re ever going to find a cure for the incurable. We hope you will continue to join Don on his journey. You won’t have a better companion.