Election: Vote no on road tax questions
October 29, 2002
All three road tax measures are flawed D Measure 1, “to constructE. roadsE.”, Measure 2, “for road projectsE.” and Measure 3,” for the constructionE.of roads…” The taxpayers of Douglas County should not pay for the building of new roads; developers should. A Capital Improvement Plan must be adopted and implemented so Douglas County can charge Impact Fees. These fees require developers, not taxpayers, to pay for the impact that new construction has on the infrastructure i.e., roads, sewers, water, utilities, etc.
A Capital Improvement Plan should be adopted and implemented before the county goes to the taxpayers for additional funding. Without Impact Fees, the taxpayer will unfairly, and continually fund the construction of road projects. Without Impact Fees, future development will require increasingly more tax dollars, adding even more of a tax burden on Douglas County residents. There is nothing in the wording of the three tax measures that would prohibit the County Commissioners from using all, or nearly all, of the tax funds for road construction.
The construction of auxiliary roads and loop roads as alternate routes will open up new areas for growth and development at taxpayers’ expense. These new roads should be paid for with Impact Fees. Is there really a need for these three tax measures? A recent Business Council of Douglas County survey concluded that 71 percent of those surveyed are “somewhat satisfied” to “very satisfied” in the overall condition of the roads in the County. If we build more by-pass roads and freeways, what happens to our downtown businesses that depend on drive-by traffic (gas stations, fast food establishments, etc.)? If we build more loop roads, by-pass roads, and freeways you can say goodbye to our rural lifestyle. “Build and they will come.”
I agree with the proponents of the above-mentioned tax measures regarding safety improvements and better-maintained roads. Everyone wants safe and maintained roads. However, any of the tax funds from these tax measures can be used for road construction, in fact, only for the building of new roads if the County Commissioners so choose. Impact Fees should pay for new road projects and then if additional funds are needed to maintain and repair existing roads, let the voters decide. The County now has a Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax, a $500 per New Residential Construction Tax, and a Room Tax in effect for the purpose of funding road maintenance and repair.
The County Commissioners have voluntarily put these three tax measures on the ballot, asking for your tax dollars to fund road projects. Yet in the past six years, they have done nothing to adopt and implement a Capital Improvement Plan via the Master Plan. However, they have approved expenditures of tax dollars for new development infrastructure. Why should the Commissioners adopt and implement a Capital Improvement Plan if the taxpayers will keep funding the lack of Impact Fees?
You should carefully read the language in your Sample Ballot. This language by the Pro and Con Committees has been researched and approved for accuracy by the County Clerk of Douglas County and the Douglas County District Attorney.
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I urge everyone to vote in the November elections, and I submit this article in hope it will help you make an informed decision on Measures 1, 2, and 3.