Letters to the Editor

A naked grab for power | LETTER TO THE EDITOR

To the editor:

The essence of a LID (Local Improvement District) is raw, naked political power. LIDs have no legitimate function in a constitutional democracy. The legislation enabling them should be repealed.

Last Monday (Oct. 10) the Freeland Water & Sewer District board of commissioners met in the Freeland library. A number of Freeland residents were there to protest the ongoing waste of taxpayer money on the $40 million sewer project.

As the Record reported in its Wednesday issue, “(FWSD) commissioners said they never wanted to force the infrastructure improvements on an unwilling public.”

And yet — that’s exactly what a LID does! A LID is nothing but a legal method of forcing unwilling customers to pay for infrastructure they don’t want, and perhaps can’t afford, under threat of losing their homes.

Let me quote from the “Sewer LID FAQ” available at the FWSD’s own website:

“14. Can I opt out? No. If the resolution to form the LID is approved by the board of commissioners, all property owners within the improvement district must bear their fair share of the cost of the project.”

Note that the LID is formed by the three FWSD commissioners acting as dictators, not by vote of the property owners concerned.

The hapless persons who will be forced to pay up or else lose their property have no say in the matter. They will be allowed the privilege of speaking out at a public hearing, but they will have no vote, and in the end, no choice. The commissioners will choose for them.

Furthermore, the way that a LID allocates “fair shares of the cost” is manifestly unfair. Instead of asking customers what they would be willing to pay, an assessor from the mainland — without speaking to any customers — imputes “special benefits” to each parcel of property, using methods that have no rational basis in economic theory. The results are arbitrary and capricious “special benefits” that defy common sense. Assessments are then allocated proportionately to these imaginary “benefits.”

If customers object, liens on their houses — and eventually, foreclosure — will teach them a lesson in submission. If you don’t like someone else deciding for you what is the “highest and best use” of your property, well, that’s tough.

In short, LID financing is by its very nature a terrible injustice, a means of forcing infrastructure “improvements” on an unwilling population — just what the FWSD commissioners say they don’t want to do.

Yet those same commissioners have refused, for five months now, to rescind their resolution of intent to form a LID, in spite of repeated requests and protests.

What is wrong with this picture?

LEW RANDALL

Freeland

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