This explanation is making its way around Facebook from Pacific Councilmember Josh Putman about the very serious jeopardy the city faces unless there is a major change of direction very, very soon:
Many people have recently been discussing alternatives for the future of
Pacific. If we continue on our current course and the City loses
insurance December 31, what do you want to see next?
If if we lose our insurance, chances are good there won’t be a functioning City Council come January – without insurance, elected
officials can be personally liable for claims against the City; I’m
pretty sure I won’t be the only one to resign rather than put my family
at that risk. Until we could find a new Council of people willing to
put their homes and retirements on the line, no City checks could issue,
no contracts could be approved, no City codes or policies could be
changed. The next steps really would be up to Pacific residents, not
Council or the Mayor.
Failed City: If we do nothing, the City
doesn’t simply disappear. A “failed city” needs to go two full years
before the State Auditor can pursue involuntary disincorporation. (RCW
35.07.230) King County could try to appoint the seeds of a new Council
if the entire Council resigned, but again, they'd have to find qualified
Pacific residents willing to accept personal liability for an uninsured
city facing a series of expensive claims.
This would be the easiest approach for residents to take, but it’s still
not quick or easy. Getting it started requires signatures of a
majority of registered voters, or a resolution of the City Council
authorizing an election on the issue. If the City disincorporates,
voters would elect a receiver to pay off the City’s obligations by
auctioning off the City’s real estate and other assets.
Annexation: Many people have suggested annexation to Auburn would
provide Pacific with stable local government and better local services.
Auburns higher property taxes do allow more funding for infrastructure ,
and a larger voting population makes it harder to have the wild
factional swings we’ve seen here in Pacific. But annexation is a longer
process, and I don’t know anyone who is prepared to shepherd an
annexation through the Boundary Review Board, or run a campaign to get
voter approval. It seems extremely unlikely that anyone could start an
annexation drive today and have it approved by December 31, so
supporters of annexation should consider what short-term alternative
they prefer, a failed city or disincorporation.