Letter: Many changes are needed at Oak Harbor City Hall


The April 10 Whidbey News-Times contained a front-page article that Patrick Harman is running for mayor of Oak Harbor because, he said, “the current elected leadership in the city needs to change.”

I hope his idea is not just to change people, but keep the same old policies.

His comment about the purchase of the “highest-priced sewage treatment plant” is a subject dear to my heart. As I have followed the growth of the plant, as reported in this paper, it appears no one in our government had any idea of what they wanted. I can just see someone here drawing up the specification for the new plant.

“I want a facility larger than my grandfather’s outhouse back in Tennessee.”

The bid, or bids, came in and our Oak Harbor city government selected a bid for $83 million, as cited in the News-Times.

Go for it.

The $83 million bid went up to over $90 million. Then again up. And up.

After the construction was past the halfway point, the city mayor asked for a monitor to keep an eye on the final stages of work. As I recall, the prices for this monitor was around $8,600 — or was it $86,000.

Again, my info came from the News-Times update. I do not really know if the mayor got his monitor. This action made me question if our city government put out a contract with no one watching what was going on. I can see how an $83 million project was able to ease up to over $140 million. Over 70 percent increase. Following the many articles reported in the News-Times, I got the impression no one at city hall followed the construction and cost increases.

Was the contractor able to add on to the $83 million project without prior approval from someone at city hall? None of this 70 percent increase is coming out of the personal bank accounts of the mayor and city council.

Yep, if Mr. Harman does run for mayor and wins, many changes are needed at city hall. Not just the faces.

Before the city starts any improvements to the treatment plants, come up with a few bucks and repair Fort Nugent Avenue at the top of the hill, next to the Fort Nugent Park. That is a bad section of roadwork.

Robert D. Brown

Oak Harbor

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