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Tracking who is responsible
When surrounding public and/or private agencies work together on common projects or in overlapping or joined areas necessary legal documents are generated in the form of supplemental agreements or memorandums of understanding.
These documents will often outline the rules, responsibilities, limitations, costs and durations of specific improvements, maintenance or accessibility in and around the project for all of parties involved.
Agreements such as these allow for the sharing of resources or the combining of budgets to achieve the completed project.
Typically a shared partnership between two differing groups with limited funds or resources can and does expand and stretch the scope of the project well beyond what a single agency could complete on its own.
One example recently is a newly entered into Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the national VFW and the city for the maintenance and upkeep of the newly constructed 9/11 Memorial.
Since its inception, the stipulation that any and all cost to Bremerton taxpayers would be keep to an absolute minimum helped secure the memorial.
Having a document such as a MOU in place with the VFW ensures that the rules and responsibilities for both organizations are understood, agreed upon and the taxpayers are protected.
An older example that was entered into by the city of Bremerton and the Washington State Department of Transportation in 2002 and supplemented in 2004 has now come back to haunt the city and the efforts of volunteers trying to do something to correct a problem.
After a considerable amount of work on the gateway this past month, it was discovered from volunteer questions, that the city of Bremerton is actually responsible for maintaining ALL of the sections of the gateway median even those that reside outside of the city limits.
This is the perfect example of an agreement that has failed to protect the citizens and taxpayers of Bremerton.
From my own experiences as a citizen, I have found it very difficult to learn about or even find many of the inter-local, supplemental agreements or MOU’s that currently involve active city spaces, assets or resources.
On more than one occasion statements from city staff regarding active agreements, lack of agreements, the need for them or even the process to obtain one has been contradictory or even outright incorrect.
I would like to see a full review, audit and reorganization of all active agreements the city has in place.
A complete and easily accessible library of the documents and transparent accounting of the responsibilities of all the partners involved is both desired and needed. What is already contained within the city document is disorganized and not easily accessible.
How can the bigger picture of what this city needs to move forward be seen and improved upon when a considerable portion of the necessary pieces of that picture are missing?