Time for another round of everybody’s favorite government game: Pin the Red Tape on the Donkey. And keep pinning. And keep pinning. And keep… Well. You know. Cuz if there’s one thing government does really, really well at any level, it’s red tape.
Just ask Sandra Wells of Hoquiam. A widow, Wells owns about 200 acres near Chenois and Ocean Beach Roads. She wants to log a five acre parcel of the acreage that’s been in her family since 1918. (That’s nearly a century for those of you doomed to Common Core math.) The price of the county permit fee? $672 smackers. (That’s six hundred and seventy-two dollars for those of you still doomed to CC math.)
Oh, and guess what else? Bringing the logs out means going over a county road. Which means right-of-way issues. Gravel. Surveys. County engineer involvement. Here a tape, there a tape, every where a tape-tape.
During the public comment portion of Monday afternoon’s regular Board of Commissioners meeting, a visibly upset Wells expressed no small amount of consternation that the last time the land was logged – in the sixties – the “fee” didn’t exist. And that she’s been paying $1,500 in property taxes on the land for years. “We pay such high taxes and have to pay this amount too” she said of the dadgum permit fee. “This is utterly ridiculous.”
The commishes were responsive but want to get more 4-1-1 on the matter. Commissioner Vickie Raines said the best person for Wells to speak to would be the county engineer. She suggested a “sit down” with all the players to hash things out and make sure everyone understands what the fees are for and why. I’ll let Corey fill you in on the details.
So. I’m going to go out on a limb here, but maybe getting dinged for big bucks by government in order to make use of their own property is one reason private land owners throw hissy fits? (Don’t blame the current commission for the fee and its price tag. That puppy’s been barking for quite some time. Just sayin’.)
Now then. Do you remember I-502? (If you don’t, find out more here.) That ballot initiative legalized the possession of marijuana for adults age 21 and older. Local revenue bonanza some said. “Pandora’s Box” said others. It passed by a margin of 56 to 44 percent statewide.
Well guess what?
During Monday’s morning meeting we learned that the state has gained about $437M in revenue from marijuana sales YTD (that’s Year to Date for those of you still struggling with Common Core anything). Know how much of that amount has come back to Grays Harbor? Just over $4,900.
Most of those statewide revenues go into the “general pot” of state funds according to Commissioner Wes Cormier. (It’s an unintentional play on words, but we get that.) $ome apparently also goes to fund the McCleary mandate.
The point here, as Commish Raines noted, is that “They’re (the state) making a killing.” But doggone if the grass “windfall” hasn’t made its way back to the counties yet.
Know what else? While the state is making becoup buckos off legal marijuana sales, local law enforcement is still expected to enforce the law on the illegal side of the gra$$ (Yeah. I know. Ouch). And local government$ are caught in the financial middle.
Can you say, “Pandora’s Box”?
All three commishes expressed frustration with the$e lovely type$ of unfunded state mandates$ and the adver$e effect they have on local government.
See? Red tape here. Red tape there. Here a tape. There a tape. Everywhere a tape, tape…
On the bright side, a garlic chicken pizza with extra cheese is due to arrive here any moment…
One other thing. Seeing as how The Man Who Would Be King is constantly carping about “common sense gun control” but never defining it, we’re gonna do him a favor. We’ll define it for him in the next post. It’s not whatcha think.
Stand by… four, three, two…