In your story “Public Stays Mum” you reported that “no one came to Town Hall requesting a copy of the budget.”
I guess you count me as no one because I went to the town hall, asked the lady at the desk for a copy of the budget and she handed me a copy off a pile of budget books on the table.
I spent about two hours looking at it and concluded that Coupeville water customers are paying too much of the town overhead cost and that is why Coupeville water costs about three times as much as Admirals Cove water.
The source of water, in both locations is the Whidbey Island single source aquifer. The town council plans on a further increase of water rates next year. It’s not just one expense. It’s a lot of small costs that add up. Is it really necessary for water customers to pay the town planning department thousands of dollars in order to get a little water out of the kitchen faucet? You should review that need.
A real estate sales person told me that people with families are buying homes in Admirals Cove whereas most homes in Coupeville are now being sold to retired people.
This is something that cannot be discussed in three minutes of testimony at a budget hearing. This is something that The Whidbey Examiner staff should examine and report the results to their readers. Maybe the current rates can be justified and then your readers can plan for a continued cost increase.
If The Whidbey Examiner does not step up to the need to support public review by identifying issues and taking an editorial position on those issues, then the public may be “mum” for a long time.