Letters to the Editor

Diking District 1 commissioners behaving badly | LETTER TO THE EDITOR

To the editor:

Diking District No. 1 Commissioners Ray Gabelein and Steve Arnold are again behaving badly.

Judge Churchill recently ruled that they had acted illegally by failing to provide public notification and hold public hearings on the Useless Bay pump project. She further required them to provide notice, hold hearings and determine taxation on the basis of benefits received. At these hearings,

50 protest letters were submitted raising many valid objections. Gabelein and Arnold simply “overruled” these objections and passed a resolution that provided for essentially the same method of taxation.

They did this despite the fact that I provided them with a survey of my beachfront property. This map documents that about 75 percent of my property lies outside of the boundary of Diking District 1 and is not protected by any dike. Commissioners Gabelein and Arnold know they do not have authority to tax property outside of the district and that most of my property lies outside of the district.

Despite knowledge of these facts, they voted to tax my entire property on its full assessed value. Similarly, they knew that they were also taxing many beachfront properties on land located outside of the district. They submitted this tax bill to Island County for collection with full knowledge that erroneous valuations were being submitted. I have made these facts known to the Island County commissioners, assessor and treasurer, as well as the state Attorney General’s Office. Will Island County send me a tax bill knowing that DD1 is taxing the 75 percent of my property located outside the district and dike?

It is my hope that Island County will not affirm the unethical actions of Ray Gabelein and Steve Arnold by sending me and my neighbors Diking District 1’s inappropriate tax bill.

JOHN SHEPARD

Clinton

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