Community

Park district's Pt. Robinson funds not available for maintenance

Money meant to be set aside for maintenance of the historic buildings at Point Robinson has gotten swallowed up by the Vashon Park District’s other needs, according to Capt. Joe Wubbold, who heads a friends group that oversees the property.

Wubbold, at a park district commissioners’ meeting last week, expressed frustration that the money he says should be available for upkeep is not there. Money from the rental of the keepers quarters goes into the Point Robinson maintenance fund, he said, a separate line item in the budget.

Wubbold was able to secure a commitment from commissioners to cover the costs of painting the roof of the lighthouse. Other needs will have to be put off for a year, even though the money should be there this year, he said.

Wubbold, who attends nearly every park district meeting, said he plans to ensure the funds are available next year to complete other needed work. But the fact that the Point Robinson funds have been “absorbed  into the great unwashed mass known as the general fund ... bothers the hell out of me,” he said.

The commissioners and park district Executive Director Jan Milligan voiced contradictory responses to Wubbold’s concerns.

Milligan, who was at the meeting when commissioners said the funds weren’t available this year, said Wubbold was wrong in his characterization. All the funds are there and available, she told The Beachcomber before Monday’s announcement that she had been let go. “The commissioners didn’t want to wipe it all out at one time,” she said.

But Chair Bill Ameling said at the meeting, in response to Wubbold’s request: “This is our tough year. Next year it will be there.”

David Hackett also offered a different perspective, noting that — just as Congress borrows against Social Security — the district has had to use those funds for other needs this year. The account will be replenished next year, he said.

“We’re trying to make it through a lean year,” Hackett said, adding, “We need to make sure we have enough money to cover our cash obligations out through the end of December.”

Michael DeBlasi, a commissioner and the board’s treasurer, did not return a call.

Wubbold said he keeps careful track of Point Robinson’s income and will make sure the account is fully restored. “I know exactly what it is on paper,” he said.

When he returns to the board for funds next year, he added, “I don’t want to hear, ‘Well, Capt. Joe, something has happened to those funds.’”

But Milligan said Wubbold needn’t worry. “His money isn’t gone,” she said.

 

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