October 3, 2008 · Updated 1:01 AM
The question of the day should be, "Is there a light at the end of the King County tax tunnel?" The cost of living in King County is steadily rising, not due to private-sector economics, but because of ever-increasing taxes, fees and levies.
Last year it was increased water rates in North Bend, this year they brought us the surface water runoff tax. Now the city fathers in North Bend and King County are asking us to buy a "farm." Another reason we are the second-highest taxed region in the country.
Currently the government owns over 40 percent of the land in the western states. There is no reason for small local governments to further encumber taxpayers with their land conservancy projects. One need only to walk a short distance in any direction from North Bend to find yourself in forest or open space owned by the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service or another governmental agency.
The roll of government is to provide a military to protect our borders, a public-safety system to protect those citizens within the borders and a public-works system for infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges and the like. Everything beyond is a lollipop and should be closely scrutinized for its value to the public.
We need to send our elected officials a message by voting this and other tax increases down unless they show a real need beyond sentimentality for spending our money.
Another issue the people should realize is since the county is buying one section and the city another, those who live in the city will be paying for both acquisitions, which will amount to hundreds of dollars a year for the average homeowner and much more for people with rental properties. The taxes will be passed on to renters who live in the city, many of whom are single mothers and the elderly who are on fixed incomes.
Lastly, what is the actual value of the land? Could it ever be developed if the city and county did not acquire it? Why hasn't the city provided an updated FEMA flood map to show the flood status of the property? I remember an article some time ago that indicated an astronomical amount of fill would be needed to bring the property up to a buildable level. Is it even worth the millions being offered? I think not.