Letters to the Editor – February

Posted

The Editor:

My Christmas reading this year has been Mark Swenson’s Point Roberts Backstory: Tails, Trails and Trivia from an American Exclave. I delighted in the many tidbits of local and connected history of the Point and would highly recommend this to all residents and visitors to this fascinating four square miles.

For those who already know the area well, undoubtedly, they will discover new facts and for those who don’t, introduction could start at any of the multiple highlighted stops around the local road network.

Thanks to the author and the Historical Society for preserving and spreading this history.

Duncan Etches

Point Roberts/Vancouver

The Editor:

I am writing in support of the letter from Larry Talson in January 2020 edition of the All Point Bulletin. The present curbside collection system is totally unfair. We used seven cans for the whole year and it cost us $212 U.S.

As Canadian summer visitors, we return a lot of our items back home as we pay a recycle fee which is reimbursed when returned. Also, like many seniors who own property in Point Roberts, we generate very little garbage. While some may argue we pay a yearly fee for water, it is available every day all year round, used or not.

Why in this age of computers and high tech cannot Cando use a program that would be more equitable to all. There must be a way to pro-rate the use of garbage pickup for those of us who do not use the program or need it as supplied currently. Thank you for consideration of this imposition.

June Morin

Point Roberts

The Editor:

There has been a stream of complaints about the mandatory garbage and recycling program now in place here in Point Roberts. A commonly raised issue is that it is unfair to our many part-timers because it adds additional costs to individuals who do not need the service all year round.

To these folks may I offer a reminder: when you are here, at your second home, you are still paying for garbage and recycling at your primary residence – even though you are not using it.

You are also, through your property taxes, paying for local schools, the hospital district, the sheriff’s office, the fire department, park and recreation, etc. some or all of which you do not use. And, of course, while you are here on the Point, you’re still paying taxes on your primary residence for all those services back there even though you are not using them.

This is how modern societies function. They establish broadly-based tax revenue streams to provide services that are needed to support large, varied populations.

So, settle down folks. The new garbage program is being evaluated by the county and the state health department. If adjustments are needed to make it fairer, they will be made.

Arthur S. Reber

Point Roberts

The Editor:

Re: County council declines to act on trash concerns. January 2020 issue of the All Point Bulletin.

You wrote county councilmember Rud Browne stated the county clerk told him three out of four Point Roberts residents wrote they favored the new curbside pick-up system.

I don’t know how those numbers square with the fact that before this council made curbside pick-up compulsory only a few hundred residents subscribed to curbside pick-up and 2,000 self-hauled.

Among my neighbors and friends very few agree with curbside pick-up and the few that do are all permanent residents.

None of my acquaintances, who are part-time residents, like the new system and only a minority of full-time residents like it better than self-hauling. If they did, they would have had curbside pick-up before council made it mandatory.

I don’t know how much money Cando or its principals contributed to Whatcom County Council members election campaigns, but I would sure be interested to know if there was a correlation with how they voted.

Finally, to quote H.L. Mencken, “Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats.”

Larry Talson

Point Roberts

The Editor:

Winston Churchill once remarked, “Democracy is the worst form of government – right after all the other forms of government.”

At this moment in history, both of our major political parties and both of our houses of Congress may be illustrating his observation.

Ken Ely

Blaine

The Editor:

All of us in the Blaine school district are thankful for the schools, teachers and administrators in our district schools. We recognize the needs for maintenance and operations within these schools, and want to do what we can to be supportive. However, on the heels of another levy passed in recent months which will also obligate many property owners to pay additional taxes over the next few years related to the functioning of our schools, we are now being asked to approve yet another levy, Prop. 2020-11, which will replace an expiring one. Several hundred dollars in addition to other taxes on property owners will be enacted.

For the many in the district who rent, the vote could be an easy “yes” because the burden falls on others. But for the property owners in the district, many of whom are already struggling to make ends meet, and many of whom like ourselves are seniors on fixed and limited incomes, this just adds to an already stressful tax burden for many. We appreciate the work of our school staffs and the district school board. The easy and quick solution to financial needs is to add another levy to property owners in a pattern that seems to become perpetual, for there will always be needs to replace those which are current.

While expressing appreciation for our educators and school board, I would urge the board to spend more time now and in the future wrestling with more creative and fair solutions to financial shortfalls than simply adding another tax on property owners.

I would ask them to continue to ask hard questions such as, are there better ways we can eliminate waste and unneeded expenditures? Are there low-priority expenditures that we can allocate to spend only if truly needed?

Are there ways we can creatively work with others and involve others in raising shortfalls (e.g. fundraisers, auctions, etc.)? The sum total of the proposed levy appears to be a little over $26,000. Surely other means can be found.

I urge voters to vote no in fairness to property owners and in asking the board to work creatively toward other solutions in the days and years to come.

Larry Eide

Birch Bay

(Ed. Note: The BSD replacement maintenance and operations levy will tax property owners less than the levy it replaces: $1.26 per $1,000 in assessed value in 2021 versus $1.39 in 2020. Also, the sum total of the levy, over four years, is $26.45 million, not $26,000.)

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