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No tax, no whining

Staff reports

What if you tried to set up seven-member advisory committee to study the feasibility of a gas tax increase and only four people applied?

If you are the Douglas County commissioners, you wisely conclude that there is little, if any, appetite for the 5-cent gas tax. In fact, the people who applied for the committee, along with the majority of the community, appear to be in opposition.

The commissioners decided Thursday – in the words of Steve Weissinger – to “cut our losses and move on.”

They are following a trend set six years ago when voters repealed a board-ordered 5-cent per gallon levy.

The tax would raise an estimated $1 million per year that could be used for road maintenance. From the onset, the board emphasized that the increase had to be community-driven, rather than ordered by commissioners.

They had hoped to draw from a large pool of applicants for the advisory board. Commissioners, who are out and about fairly regularly, also said they had heard very little comment in the community about the tax at all.

The issue may not be totally dead. The Business Council of Douglas County plans to focus its annual Critical Issues Conference on roads, maintenance and costs. If voters show a change of heart regarding the gas tax increase, they most likely would have to wait until 2002 to put the issue on the ballot because of election deadlines and the cost of special elections.

You know what all this means, don’t you folks? No whining allowed about the potholes, ruts, missing stop signs, snow removal and lack of streetlights.