January 14, 2020
Meeting was called to order by Edna at 7:30am.
Peggy gave a history moment.
Program: Port Angeles School Levy – Jim Haguewood & Dan Shotthafer
Jim H. gave his opening statement citing safety, security, economic development and five-year accountability. Also, operational and educational efficiencies, and the ability to create labs and other career and technical opportunities. He said now is the time.
Dan S. in his opening, agreed that the schools are being maintained well but should have upgrades and renovations over time. Another tax is too much for residents and student predictions have not been accurate. Things are not in good shape in Port Angeles and there is not a need to move the 6th grade.
Jim said schools are our asset, our investment. It’s gone from $98 million to $140 million to rebuild the high school. Affordability is a set dollar amount for what we can accomplish today. We’re getting a lot more done with that money. Dan is not against a small levy. He said we don’t have overcrowding, He received an estimate of $2500 – $3500 per classroom for heat pumps which could be done now and a change to LED lighting can reduce the electric bill. Marty Brewer said they’re trying to reach a 17 to 1 class size while Dan said smaller class sizes don’t make a difference.
Dan said economically, things are not well here in Port Angeles. If there are few family wage jobs and few places to live, why should people come here? Jim H. has evaluated cities across the country and how people make their choices. One common factor is the educational system and there is a renaissance in Port Angeles. There is $140 million of private investment in downtown over the next few years. There will be a change of imagery when all this is happening. Community and economic attractiveness will increase. Dan asked where they will live and if they think it through, facts don’t prove it. He cited a city where they spent billions to rebuild and nothing positive happened.
Jim said he would tell businesses that are considering moving here that we have passed a levy as of February 12 for a 27-year plan to rebuild our schools. Dan said businesses will look at taxes and how they’ll pay, and at what conditions are best for them. The schools need work that should have already been done. Jim is optimistic on the future of Port Angeles which is why he supports the levy. The community and tax base need to grow so the tax can be spread out.
Dan said there is room to look at numbers for timber revenue to offset costs and in reversing the law that building products are subject to sales tax, and they should look at modular systems which will last just as long as other schools, Jim agreed about room to look at numbers, and state standards need to be met for earthquake stability. Research around modular makes sense for some applications with savings in construction time. We should decide as investors what to do in our community. Dan added hospitals are built from modulars. There is no life span to a building if they’re maintained.
Andrew moved to extend the meeting for up to 15 minutes, second by Carol. Motion passed.
Marty can’t answer on behalf of the school board where they stand on modular. He himself is not comfortable recommending them at all. Dan said a drive by can’t tell you much.
Jim said one reason the chamber supports the levy is security. Dan asked if one way in and one way out is the answer, and that security firms should determine if it is a valid safety concern. There should be another discussion just on safety. Marty added that they meet fire code.
Jim believes the schools will bring back vocational training and they will talk to the community advisory board. Dan said that is normally in high school and is not sure how to integrate it in middle school.
Dan thinks ballots are printed, and there is no time for an alternative to the levy. Jim said this is a performance-based plan and the school hasn’t been designed yet.
Closing statements were made.
Edna announced a Government Affairs Committee meeting following.
Jan 21: KONP
Meeting adjourned at 8:45am.