Taxes in any form are unpopular but when coupled with a new bureaucracy ushered in by disgraced county officials under the auspices of a ‘fee’ they are sure to raise residents’ hackles. Such is the case with the new Adams County “Stormwater Utility” that is raising taxes on county residents and, adding insult to injury, poor management will cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars.
The new utility is ostensibly to, “improve water quality and flood protection by increasing public awareness of stormwater issues and implementing stormwater drainage system maintenance and improvements.”
That sounds great in theory but as with everything having to do with Adams County government, it has been far less so in practice.
As one final act to stick it to residents before being run out of office, county commissioners Alice Nichol and Skip Fischer ramrodded through the new scheme to raise millions of dollars in new revenue for the county. Commissioner Erik Hansen was, as usual, the only member of the board to stand up for residents and oppose the tax.
Residents of unincorporated Adams County now will pay the new fee (i.e. tax) based on the “impervious” area of their property. Most residents were not even aware of the tax until they received their property tax bills in the past couple of months.
Making matters worse it has been revealed that the county’s math in determining these fees is wrong and many residents have been overcharged. Nearly $100,000 of taxpayer money will be spent to fix the problem. Residents can only get a refund if they go through an appeals process.
Residents hit by the tax have since sprung into action and have been calling on the commissioners to repeal the tax and give the citizens a voice in the process. Last week more than 400 of them attended a meeting to discuss possible legal action against the county.
- Visit the Stop Stormwater Utility Tax website
- Watch the video produced by the Adams County residents upset over the new tax below
Given the county’s troubled past at the hands of the Adams Family, one would like to think that newly minted commissioners Eva Henry and Chaz Tedesco would take the opportunity to uphold their campaign promise for reforms and ethical governance. That has not been the case.
Henry and Tedesco have said they have no interest in revisiting the issue despite the mismanagement that has already scarred the program.
In an email to one constituent, Henry inexplicably brought politics into the game when this is clearly a non-partisan issue.
She wrote that opposition to the fee was based on “misinformation given out by a political action group” and that group was “being funded by out of state money for the only reason to assignated [sic] my character.”
Henry then went on to run her fellow commissioner under the bus and shift blame from herself saying, “Why Commissioner Hansen never made sure that it was implemented properly I do not know.”
Amazing. Why is it so hard to believe that Adams County citizens, by themselves, are simply taking a stand against an unjust and poorly implement tax? Given the history of leadership in Brighton, it should hardly be a surprise that residents are fed up and taking action.
The idea that a “political action group” has any interest in the county’s stormwater utility is laughable.
Having said that, if there is any evidence whatsoever of outside influences, I ask Henry or anyone else with proof to back that claim up to forward it to me and other media outlets so that this can be brought to light.
In the end what we have is another failure of governance in Adams County. Poor policy followed by poor implementation has resulted in Adams County residents being ripped off by the government in Brighton – again.
Making the situation worse is that those that the people put in office in November with the hope that they would restore our faith in county government aren’t siding with their constituents. Trying to deflect blame while turning a deaf ear is an old trick of the Adams Family and one that appears to live on with the new occupants in Brighton.
One step forward and two steps back continues to be the rule in Adams County and it is a shame.
On the net:
- Adams County homeowners say a new Stormwater Utility fee amounts to unfair tax
- Taxpayers saddled with new water run-off fee
- Residents protest stormwater fees
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