Solid Waste Bond Issue Lacks Clarity, Transparency
The Bonner County Republican Central Committee researched the County’s proposed Solid Waste bond and recommended against it because it lacks clarity and transparency for incurring debt for a decade or more.
- In early April, BCRCC submitted a list of eight specific questions to County Commissioners asking for clarification. No answer, written or verbal, was received, and none of the Commissioners attended the April BCRCC meeting.
- BOCC chairman McDonald now declares himself “baffled” by BCRCC’s stance against this bond, which he claims will prevent “dramatically higher fees” because of future inflation. Actually, Commissioners already dramatically raised solid waste fees by 62% in September 2019, from $115 to $185, for the very infrastructure improvements they now insist require a bond. By their own verbal admission, “overages” were built into the increase.
- The ballot lists the reason for the bond as having to meet unspecified “federal requirements”. The reason given by McDonald this week: to meet Idaho DEQ requirements.
- In 2019, the plan was to raise $8,733,700 in 10 years. Millions have already been collected. The bond would add $786,423 in interest, to be repaid from the solid waste fees on your property tax bill, with a payoff time of 10 years or less if you believe the ballot, or as long as 15 years, if you believe the County’s website.
- McDonald claims that the solid waste issue has been publicized since 2019. You would be hard pressed to find anyone who has been informed on this issue. So within the last three weeks, three public hearings were hastily scheduled, attended by just a few people.
- McDonald fails to mention that federal ARPA funds of $8.8 million, specifically for water, sewer and broadband infrastructure, will be discussed at a multi-agency meeting next week, after the election, and solid waste improvement likely qualifies as “infrastructure”. If it does, the County stands to gain an infrastructure windfall which, in a public meeting on May 12, 2021, Commissioners said would be placed in a “trust” for 4-1/2 years, to be determined for spending at a later time. In other words, a “slush fund”.
The reasons keep multiplying for giving this bond measure a No vote.
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