Not a fair way to charge for solid waste fees

Letter: John R. Gaither Grangeville

The Idaho County Board of Commissioners have said “bah humbug” to small ag land owners. All three Scrooges along with the county assessor (AKA the Grinch) have decided ag land owners must pay a “Part-Time Commercial” solid waste fee of $198.72 in addition to their residential fee of $198.72. Their rationale is: “if you own ag land you are a business and should pay for the solid waste that your land produces.” The three Scrooges said this is the only “fair” way to collect needed solid waste fees.

So what’s the problem? The owner of a 5.3-acre parcel pays the same amount as the owner of 10,000 acres! What’s fair about that! If they wanted to impose a fair fee, then they should charge all ag land owners by the acre. Five cents, 10 cents or whatever. Instead they demanded the owner of the 5.3-acre parcel to pay $37.49 per acre in new solid waste fees or remove the ag designation from his land and pay higher property taxes. How much in property taxes? When asked, the assessor stated “About $200!”   

The state developed the ag land designation to help the small farmers with their property taxes. The three Scrooges said “The state gave you a break on your property taxes and we want it back in solid waste fees.” Ironically most small ag land parcels do not produce any solid waste and were parts of small family ranches that are now owned by heirs, widows and widowers. Shame, shame!

John R. Gaither

Grangeville

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