01/05/2009: "CC Rejects New Weed Tax"
//11/19/2008 // Expressing concerns that now is not the time to spend $186,992.31 in additional funding for the weed board, The County Council voted down a proposal for additional staff time and associated costs.
Councilman -and State Senator elect- Kevin Ranker was supportive of the proposal because -in part- of the possible job losses involved. The proposal would add over $130.00.00 to the budget to fund a field coordinator and an assistant coordinator.
In the discussion period the council was told the weed board spends 30% of their time as advisors and giving technical support to the Land Bank and to Public Works, but only the Land Bank has paid them for their services.
The council asked PW Director Joh Shannon to comment on the matter, and he said they used to pay the Weed Board, but they decided to hire their own weed puller, and were now paying three times the amount they spent prior. Weed Board members said they are still helping PW identify weeds and giving support to PW, but are not paid to do so.
Council members Gene Knapp and Rich Peterson said this is not the time to be asking citizens for an increase in taxes. Knapp noted the number of staff positions the Council will be cutting to balance the budget, and said “I cannot support weeds over people;” and then added he would support it in the future.
Councilman Peterson expressed his concern that because the current funding level for the weed board was approved by a vote of the people, he “would rather take it back to the people” for their approval or rejection of the increased tax.
Peterson also had his eye on the future needs of county government when he noted that the Council may have to ask the citizens to vote for an increase in property taxes, and to increases the weed tax at this time “may come back on us (in the future).”
Ranker then made a motion to bring up the matter in December when Councilman Alan Lichter would return from vacation, and could cast a deciding vote.
Both Knapp and Peterson were against taking it up in again at that time.
Ranker then responded to the Weed Board members that if there is less work done in weed eradication, then after “this has risen to a crises” it may get attention from the Council, “so let it go there.”
With that the motion to pass the new tax failed, with Myhr and Ranker voting for it, and Knapp and Peterson voting against it.