No Biggie.. Just Another Non-Transparent Tax Increase / Facebook post, Whatcom Hawk, Wendy Harris

transportations district26 mins October 29, 2015  Wendy Harris

I received public notice of “PUBLIC HEARING ON THE PROPOSED ASSUMPTION OF THE RIGHTS, POWERS, FUNCTIONS, AND OBLIGATIONS OF THE TRANSPORTATION BENEFIT DISTRICT BY CITY COUNCIL”

What the hell does that mean? I was referred to the below link for information. However, when I went to the link, it discussed the creation of a Transportation Benefit District, in addition to a funding source, in 2010. There was history of meetings and actions. There was no issue or controversy reflected anywhere. Hey, remember when the city issued a STAFF REPORT? It would explain the issue, explain the law, explain the proposed solution and why it was a proper application under the facts and law? And you could read it and understand what was going on and decide whether or not you agreed?

There is literally no way for me to know, from the notice or the links, exactly what is at issue for this public hearing. This is a big, big deal. I have long been complaining about the problems with city public notice but maybe people will care more now. Why?

This is an independent quasi judicial taxing district with the power to impose certain taxes, such as sales and use, on its own authority. You might want to know if this involves a new tax increase before attending, or even worse, not attending, the public hearing on November 9th.

I happen to know, from a prior council meeting,that this is part of connected effort, related to the Mayor’s budget adjustment, to increase revenue from increased sales and property taxes. Did you know about this nice double whammy coming your way? Did you know that this is all connected to the cost of new growth, but presented to the public in a way so as to be nontransparent?

Because the TBD is a separate entity, they have to hold a separate hearing on the sales tax increase. (The prior hearing, the one where I was the only person to testify, involved a property tax increase,) But why didn’t the city schedule both hearings on the same day so they would be more transparent to the public? Umm, I think that is the answer… they would be more transparent to the public. However, this is contrary to prior city practice.

And why the hell isn’t any of this explained in the cited material? It is not really public notice if it does not inform you of the issue. You are being played for dumb chumps, Hamsters. Even if you support the sales tax and property tax increase, no one could support the city’s flawed public process and the longer you remain silent, the worse it becomes.

Even worse, this is being scheduled for the same night, Nov. 9th, the city has scheduled a public hearing on the Critical Area Ordinance update, which is sort of a big deal. In the meanwhile, the council has not held a work session on the CAO, even though it was referred by the PC without any position because it was too confusing (what with some of telling the truth and developers telling lies, of course they were confused.)

Read Wendy’s post on the Whatcom Hawk Facebook pager here.

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