By now everyone that voted on the initiatives in the Nov. 5 election knows the results. Did you notice how many initiatives that were Legislative and your vote repealed or maintained it? Kinda turned them into initiatives by the people.

Unfortunately, this isn't the case with our Pacific County commissioners and the noxious plant fee they approved without a vote of the people. It took effect Jan. 1, 2019. They approved a tax assessment for every taxable parcel of land within the county to pay for "basic expenses." In plain English, you now pay a noxious weed tax for every parcel of land you own in Pacific County. Don't believe me? Look at your last tax statement and then check out the county’s website and you can be well informed of how “everyone pays a little so no one pays a lot.”

My favorite is "you don't have weeds on your property because the system is working." No wonder this wasn't put to the people for a vote. Sure, you say, you own only one parcel and it's not that much. But consider if you own an oyster farm and all those little parcels add up to about two dozen tax assessments. And when some of your oyster-bed parcels are subtidal and never get exposed, how does a noxious weed grow under water? Especially, saltwater. Don't play the spartina card because it doesn't grow subtidal either.

It should not be our burden to shoulder the fact that the county has no more spartina money to run their noxious weed program so they "Braveheart" the people with another tax. Is it the taxpayers’ fault that the county was "in the red" before the budget was even balanced?

So the next time you see a county employee towing his little airboat down the highway or blazing his way through someone's oyster beds, wave, with one finger, because your taxes pay his salary. Better yet, if you see one of your commissioners, thank them for the noxious weed tax and remind them that their position is voted on by the people.

STEVE SHOTWELL

South Bend

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