Clarkston City Council won't back down

CLARKSTON, WA - The Clarkston City Council continues to stand behind their decision not to provide funding for the Asotin County Family Aquatic Center.

In 2007, the Clarkston City Council voted to opt-in and collect Clarkston's 85% share of the .3 sales tax imposed by the county. The collection of the imposed tax began in March of 2008. However, currently that revenue is going into the city's general fund upsetting citizens and forcing them to take action.

"The citizens of Clarkston are mad as hell and aren't going to take it anymore," said Initiative Petition Attorney Scott Broyles.

In December, $160,000 was requested to help the Aquatic Center's 2012 costs of operation. But, Clarkston's drained budget just couldn't handle the request. As it stands now, some of the money initially intended for the Aquatic Center goes toward the funding of police and fire services.

Clarkston Mayor Kathleen Warren is hopeful the city and petitioners can negotiate the creation of a taxing district for the center.

"It's an unfortunate situation and I'm hoping that we can reach a point somewhere along the line where I or members of the council can meet with the commission, and perhaps even some citizens, and try to find a compromise that we can work on," said Warren.

More than 800 people recently signed an initiative petition to show the council how important it is for them to follow through with their annual contribution to the center. Broyles said the answer is simple.

"The city council could pass a resolution basically referring this issue to the voters for a vote," said Broyles.

"According to the city ordinance any referendum petition to appeal would have had to be filed within seven days of the original ordinance passage.," said reporter Whitney Hise. "The ordinance was passed in December of 2007 and the petition wasn't filed until April of 2012. Meaning it was roughly four year and four months too late."

"Until a judge tells us that that's the case, were going to keep going," said Broyles. Opinions are like noses and everybody has one and the only one that counts is the judges that hear this."

Broyles said the issue could be taken to court as soon as next week.