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Snow job | Editorial
A week after the biggest snowstorm in two years and the city of Bremerton cannot yet say how much they spent running seven snowplows from 3 a.m. Jan. 18 until the city response ended many days later.
Considering that Bremerton Public Works has previously suffered under poor direction that has led to many consistent and legitimate questions about the expenditures, including the Street Fund, and that the city council last month increased the citizens tax burden by more than $650,000 to fund city streets in 2012, the city owes its citizens an answer that is profoundly more detailed than “we’re still trying to figure that out.”
Adding to the concern is the fact that Bremerton’s mayor believed the storm related budget to be $35,000 and the office of the city’s finance director said the budget was $15,000.
Considering the lack of confidence in the city’s 2012 budget by those who created it and approved it, everyone charged with overseeing a department budget should be able to rattle off the status of their accounts on any given day.
The county, also cash strapped and facing possible further reductions to its 2012 budget, fielded eight plows that delivered thousands of tons of sand and tens of thousands of gallons of salt brine combined with the overtime to run around the clock operations on 940 miles of county road at a “preliminary” cost of $153,000.
Bremerton has 128 miles of road, but they can’t, or won’t, say how much sand or salt brine went down or explain the manpower from the public works department in any quantifiable manner.
With the new public works director a few weeks into the job, we had hoped for a more transparent and open reporting of the city’s spending of the people’s money.