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Town of Rainier
Referendum No. 1 – Adopt Classification
of Noncharter Code City

 

Town of Rainier
Referendum No. 1 – Adopt Classification of Noncharter Code City

Official Ballot Title:
The Rainier Town Council has passed Resolution 418, to adopt for Rainier the classification of noncharter code city under Title 35A RCW, the Optional Municipal Code. Voters have filed a sufficient referendum petition on this resolution. If Resolution 418 is approved Rainier will adopt the classification of noncharter code city, retaining the mayor-council plan of government under which Rainier is now organized but governed under chapter 35A.12 of the Optional Municipal Code. Should this Resolution be:

Approved Rejected


Statement For:  
The Town of Rainier’s population has more than doubled.
Since 1990, Rainier has grown from a population of 745 to 1570 citizens. Isn’t it time the Town Government grew also? Becoming a Code City is a step forward as evidenced by 176 of the 279 Cities and Towns in Washington having adopted this system of government. Becoming a Code City grants The Town of Rainier broader powers and fewer restrictions than any other class of city and puts us on par with our neighboring communities.

Funding is shrinking and internal systems are outdated.
With our overall funding continuing to decrease yearly, becoming a Code City would enable the use of more efficient budget and payment systems, thus modernizing financial planning and accounting systems. There are a wider range of choices for a Code City to use to undertake community planning and development. As a Code City, we can establish a planning agency that could be a department, staff, or person rather than strictly a planning commission, currently utilized, enhancing our capabilities.

Citizens of Rainier gain power.
Under the Code City system, citizens of the Town of Rainier would be granted the power of initiative and referendum that they are currently unable to utilize.

Rainier’s elected officials gain enhanced abilities.
Becoming a Code City will grant additional powers to the Town of Rainier (Town Council), which must be consistent with Washington state’s constitution, thus enabling us to deal more effectively with Thurston County and Washington State Government agencies. Code City Status also gives the Mayor veto power that may be overridden by a majority vote of the Town Council plus one (four votes). Vote yes for Code City.

Submitted by: Dennis McVey, Chairperson – Committee for Code City. 322 Country Estates Dr. W., Rainier, Washington 98576-9516 (360) 446-3111.

Rebuttal of Statement Against:
Don’t be fooled by misleading statements! The Rainier Council held public hearings on this issue in January. It was discussed at several council meetings and they had written material for study. The town’s attorney gave the council an extensive briefing on Code City options and provided them additional material. Rainier voters rejected a Manager-Council form of government last year by 77%, why are they raising that issue again. This is a vote of the people!

Statement Against:
Historically the Town of Rainier has chosen to have the majority of the council members speak for the town, thus eliminating the possibility of any one person to overriding the majority vote of those speaking for Rainier citizens.

Code cities have many benefits. There are also many different forms of code cities. It was a two-to-two vote when this issue came up. The tie was broken by the mayor, resulting in the form of code city you are asked to vote on. This particular form of code city gives veto power to the mayor, whomever that may be.

There was never any discussion at council meetings concerning the four options available, nor information regarding the pros and cons of these options submitted to the people of Rainier. For instance, we could (1) remain a township; (2) change to a code city under current town structure; (3) change to a Manager = council form of government; (4) change to the form of code city as described in this pamphlet. Changing the form of local government is clearly a matter of such major importance that it should go to a vote of the people.

By voting NO to this referendum, a message will be sent to our council that you would rather have a ballot offering all four options, thus allowing the residents to choose the form of local government they want.

COMMITTEE AGAINST RESOLUTION NO. 418

Committee: (1) William “Bill” Snider, (2) Ronald V. Geaudreau, (3) Frieta G. Geaudreau
Advisors: Charles Oliver, Jim Parker

Rebuttal of Statement For:
Two years ago you were told Rainier couldn’t afford an administrator/manager. Today you’re asked to support an agency/department under this code city plan. Saving administrative pennies to pay out big dollars for additional staff isn’t efficiency. Rainier couldn’t afford the administrator/manager before I-695, so how can it afford an agency/department now with a smaller budget? The only answer is HIGHER TAXES. Is that what you want? Send your town council the message. VOTE NO!

Explanatory Statement
Our courts hold that towns may exercise only those powers that are granted by the legislature expressly or by necessary implication. In addition, their statutory powers are strictly construed, and doubts are resolved against the existence of a power.

To overcome those restrictions the state legislature, in 1967, adopted the Optional Municipal Code, Title 35A RCW, conferring broad powers of self government upon all cities and towns choosing to be “code” cities. Pursuant to RCW 35A.11.020, the legislative body of any code city is given “all powers possible for a city or town to have under the Constitution of this state, and not specifically denied to code cities by law.” Other sections restate the same broad principle in various ways, provide for liberal construction of a code city’s statutory powers, and expressly prohibit the application of strict construction rules to those powers.

If Resolution No. 418 is approved the Rainier Town Council must enact an ordinance adopting for the Town of Rainier the classification of noncharter code city as provided in the Optional Municipal Code. The resolution further provides for the newly classified code city to retain the mayor-council plan of government, as provided for under Chapter 35A.12 of the Code. Under that chapter the council exercises all legislative authority. Existing ordinances, resolutions and rules are not affected unless they conflict with the Code. The only necessary appointive offices are clerk-treasurer and chief law enforcement officer. The council may create other appointive offices and employments and provide for their duties and compensation. The mayor, as chief executive and administrative officer, has the power of appointment and removal, subject to applicable civil service rules. The council also may authorize the mayor to appoint a chief administrative officer or assistant. All appointments must be made on the basis of ability and training or experience from among qualified applicants. The council may, by ordinance, provide for council confirmation of appointees unless their qualifications are established by statute or ordinance. The mayor may vote to break a tie with respect to matters other than the passage of any ordinance, grant, or revocation of a franchise or license, or any resolution for the payment of money. The mayor may veto an ordinance, subject to be overridden by a majority of all council members plus one. Other powers and duties of the council and mayor are set forth in the Code, and are substantially the same as they have been under town law.

Explanatory Statement prepared by: Robert F. Hauth, Attorney, Town of Rainier


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