The kings in the castle
Long, long ago in a land not so far away, the country peasants of Garland County decided they would like to have sewer and water at the same rate as the subjects that lived in the Castle. The Government said that the King in the Castle had to provide some of the peasants that right and at the same rate and the Government said we will give the Castle gold coins to build a sewer plant. So many peasants thought this was a good idea and formed districts called sewer/water districts, reached an agreement with the Castle, placed a tax upon themselves, built the infrastructure and donated it to the Castle.
All was well within the County. Then the King of the Castle said this is good but could be better. We will charge 50 percent more for the service. The peasants had no choice but to pay because they had already destroyed their wells and sewers. Then the King said, hmm, I will withhold the water/sewer from the peasants unless they agree to be a part of the Castle and pay a sales tax. So the peasants went back to the Government and said this is not fair. We had a contract with the King, we upheld our part, we taxed the property owners and now we can't get water. The Government threw up their hands and said: "It is what it is." The country peasants were sad but they had to continue to pay the improvement tax or lose their property.
Flash forward to 2019. The volunteer fire departments are trying to force the county residents to pay a mandatory membership that is added on to their real property tax. If you don't pay, you could lose your property if SB 461 passes (which it will). They say that they provide much more than fire structural protection, they also respond to grass fires, medical emergencies and auto accidents which is much more frequent than structural fires. But only the property owner will be forced to pay. Plus they left the door open for mandatory volunteer contributions to be increased at the Department's discretion. There is an amendment to limit the increases to $100 plus some confusing 5 percent for amounts over $100. At that rate, you could be paying over $100 per month in 10 years. This issue will appear before the quorum court later this year and a special election to be held later. Do not expect the government to intervene if this gets out of hand. Remember the peasants and the water/sewer promises. You have two methods to stop this mandatory volunteer requirement. Attend the quorum court meeting and later vote no at the special election, both to be scheduled later.
Garland CountyEditorial on 04/11/2019
Print Headline: Thursday's Letter to the Editor