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`Always fighting over money'

Peninsula Daily News

Clallam County, WA - Clallam County's three cities work well with each other but not always with county government, two of the three Clallam mayors said during an unusual public meeting Wednesday afternoon.

The League of Women Voters Clallam County hosted the meeting of the county's three mayors -- Nedra Reed of Forks, Walt Schubert of Sequim and Karen Rogers of Port Angeles -- at the Four Seasons Ranch clubhouse.

Schubert and Reed criticized the county, while Rogers said she found relations to be mutually constructive.

No county government representatives spoke.

Schubert said the city of Sequim gets along well with other local government entities except for the county.

``We are always are fighting over money,'' he said.

Reed said Forks' relationship with the county is ``strained for the most part'' because county services are located 57 miles away.

That can make them difficult to access.

Services could be better provided countywide, she said.

Reed said since county emergency management personnel often can't or don't come out to Forks, city residents have organized emergency facilities and systems themselves, she said.

But Rogers said the city and county do work very well together, such as during the city's annexation of its 346-acre southwestern urban growth area in June 2005.

The city ensured the other local governments such as the county, fire district and Clallam County Public Utility District would have stable revenues after annexation, she said.

Now the city is extending utilities east of its boundaries without annexing the area for 10 years even though the area is more densely developed than many areas of the city, Rogers said.

The city's revenue-sharing agreement with the county is the most fair and equitable in the state, she said.

Source of conflict

Rogers said a major source of conflict between the county and its cities is the Growth Management Act.

``The Growth Management Act isn't working because it pits counties against cities,'' Rogers said.

It needs to be revised but the state Legislature has ducked that issue, she said.

The Growth Management Act was supposed to put the population into the cities and maintain the character of rural areas, Rogers said.

But now U.S. Highway 101 between Port Angeles and Sequim is beginning to look like state Highway 99 in Seattle, she said.

More equitable distribution of sales taxes to the cities also would reduce conflicts, she said, adding she hopes that will be addressed during the next legi



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