Letters to the Editor

There is a simple fix for this mess | LETTER TO THE EDITOR

To the editor:

A major responsibility of government is to establish rules, regulations and taxes that treat all of its citizens equitably.

The proposed method of taxation for the Clean Water Utility (CWU) is based appropriately on an assessment of benefit with equitable sharing of the costs among all benefitted properties. This is not what has happened in Diking District 1, where 203 properties have been forced to pay the costs of surface water management for the entire Lone Lake drainage basin. Incredibly, more than 400 properties in Diking District 1 pay no taxes, yet contribute to surface water runoff.

As proposed, the CWU will give these non-taxed Diking District 1 properties a discount credit whereby they will be exempted from paying 42 percent of the CWU fee.

Tax exempt times two is unfair and inequitable.

Furthermore, the 203 taxed parcels in Diking District 1 represent less than 10 percent of the 5,000 acres in the drainage basin. Consequently, the county will be collecting revenue from parcels covering 4,500 acres in the basin for which Diking District 1 receives no revenue but pays for the management of surface water runoff. This is likewise unfair and inequitable.

I am proposing a simple, fair and equitable solution to the mess that the district and the county have created.

The proposal is as follows: Island County assumes the responsibility for the management of surface water runoff, and all residents of Diking District 1 pay the full CWU fee.

A far more complex solution that would also be fair and equitable would involve the creation of Drainage District No. 1, in which all parcels located within the Lone Lake drainage are included and share in the tax burden for the management of surface water runoff.

Under both proposals Diking District 1 would remain responsible for diking as originally chartered.

John Shepard


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