ABERDEEN, Wash. - The questions ranged from cars speeding down city streets, car prowls and thefts, to discarded needles last night at an Aberdeen ward meeting. Mayor Bill Simpson started by reading right from the wall at Stevens Elementary "I read this coming in 'Respect each other, we are a family' and that's the way we are in this city. It's going to take all of us to solve the problems. The police can't do it all, the fire can't do it all, we can't do it all as the city, we all have to work together to make things happen. If you've got drug [problems] in your neighborhood, for god sakes call somebody, let them know." About 30 residents and city staff attended the first of four meetings to discuss issues in the city.
Resident John Barclay asked Police Chief Bob Torgerson if his department has the resources they need to do their job "You know there's a lot of funding streams, but there's not a lot that go on year after year. Sales tax, B&O tax, those kind of things are the regular funding sources we have. The problem is that we have a lot of activities in the city that a lot of people like. We all like our parks, we all like our fire departments, police department, our streets, we like all of those things that we have as a city infrastructure."
Torgerson continued "There's a great balancing act that we all have to do, the mayor's budget does that, but it does it with the input from department heads and the mayor and we construct a budget. Can we use more? Absolutely. I'd be happy to have more, but I know parks would like to have more, I know Lisa needs to have more, our fire department needs more, our legal department needs more." City Attorney Eric Nelson quipped that his department was alright. Torgerson said to balance the budget in his department he shelved the idea of buying two new cruisers in 2014.
City council candidate Tawni Andrews asked about an increase in car prowls, Police Chief Bob Torgerson replied; "We had a lot of car thefts - that has gone down, but we still have a lot of car prowls. And as Christmas season comes in, we're going to have a lot of those things. We have been taking active steps in the police department to be patrolling for those."
The next meeting starts at 6:30 tonight at A.J. West, Mayor Simpson said all are welcome regardless of ward number. Two November meetings will take place at Robert Gray on the 4th, then McDermoth on the 8th. All meetings will begin at 6:30 that evening. A town hall style meeting will be held early next year to address concerns raised at these meetings.