The Odessa Record -

Manweller, Warnick visit newest areas of Dsitrict 13

 

On a swing through eastern Washington, District 13 state representatives Matt Manweller, (R-Ellensberg) and Judy Warnick (R-Moses Lake) made three stops to visit the three newspapers in Lincoln County and to hold a public meeting with constituents in Davenport. After visiting The Wilbur Register, they went on to the Davenport Times, then to the public meeting and finally to The Odessa Record, where they and their assistants met with managing editor Terrie Schmidt-Crosby and Odessa Mayor Doug Plinski. Odessa Chamber of Commerce president Marlon Schafer was also invited but was unable to come.

The representatives discussed various pieces of legislation that they had dealt with during the special and regular sessions. Plinski expressed great concern about how the town of Odessa was going to balance its budget next year without an increase in revenue from somewhere. Revenue from the state liquor tax has been cut in half with the changeover to private sales of liquor ushered in by voters. The hotel/motel tax remains in place but can be used only to promote tourism. It cannot be used for capital projects that many small towns desperately need.

Manweller and Warnick agreed that those kinds of cuts and restrictions are hard on small towns, as was the requirement that municipalities must pay the ‘prevailing wage’ for work on capital projects. Even though wages on the east side of the state are generally lower than they are in western Washington, the prevailing wage is heavily influenced by the larger population base west of the Cascades, making projects far more expensive for many eastern Wash. small towns.

The two District 13 legislators tried to enact a provision of the prevailing wage bill that would suspend it for schools, small towns and/or economically depressed counties, but all of their suggestions were voted down by the other legislators. They expressed the hope that there would be more willingness to compromise during the next regular session.

During the discussion of Plinski’s town budget woes, the legislators were surprised to learn that businesses in the Odessa Industrial Park were not within the town limits of Odessa and therefore contributed no tax revenue to the town. Plinski said the council was considering annexation of various areas adjacent to the town limits to try to rectify some of the issues involved.

 

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