Wednesday, April 23, 2014

County needs to rethink road funding

    I am writing to echo the concerns of my colleague, Keith Saks, regarding the road levy as proposed by Blaine County.
    I feel the county has taken a number of missteps going back to 2007 when they decided not to allocate property taxes for the repair and upkeep of the roads and bridges. Instead, they depended upon Development Road Mitigation Fees to replace the 40 percent funding from property taxes for this purpose, even when those fees dried up during the Great Recession. Not a shocking surprise that they burned through the reserves in short order since they did not readdress the funding formula. It must be assumed that the commissioners found more important needs for property tax funds.
    I also find it curious to note that all city taxpayers will have their levy payments split 50-50 between their city and the county. Conversely, county residents will have 100 perecent of their payments allocated to the county, in effect giving them free use of city roads while putting the full burden of maintenance of those roads on city taxpayers. Hardly seems equitable.
    Lastly, I would urge citizens to go to the Blaine County website for a more detailed presentation on the levy, as Ms. Nelson’s letter advised. The original presentation had been taken down some time ago and has not been replaced at this time, even though the measure is to be voted on next month. Hopefully, there will soon be a detailed and transparent document explaining the proposal.
     Unless county officials rethink and re-evaluate how to address the road and bridge problem, there will be nothing temporary about this “temporary road levy.”
Peter M. Hendricks
Sun Valley City Council


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