Sure, it’s only $3.25 million and it’s in little old Jerome, Idaho and the companies provide JOBS, but all Idaho should pay attention.
Seems that three dairy processing companies are responsible for a whopping 63% of the waste in the city sewer system which is about to get sanctions from the Feds for being too small to handle the load.
Poor judgement on the part of the local officials who didn’t require the sewage to either be “pre-treated” by the companies or pay impact fees for expansion of the system have led to the current “emergency.” No doubt they had the best interests of citizens (and those three processing plants) in mind at the time, but JOBS do little to help the economy when everyone else has to BUY the jobs.
Now, Jerome City has hired expensive Boise lawyers who will seek to convince a single voter–a District Court judge–to approve a $3.25 million debt to fund expanding the system. Idaho’s Constitution mandates voter approval of debt in Article VIII, section 3. There is an exception for unforeseen expenses of an emergency nature termed “ordinary and necessary.” The clause was included at statehood to cover repairs for floods and emergencies that couldn’t be anticipated at budget time.
Truth is, city officials screwed their taxpayers with poor judgement and now seek to cure the emergency they created by tapping the citizen’s pocketbooks. It is important to ALL Idaho citizens because this case will be watched by local governments statewide seeking ways around the citizens.
Every property owner in the city will have to repay the debt to benefit three commercial firms that overload the sewer system. This is NOT an emergency and citizens have a right to approve (or deny) debt they will be forced to pay.
If the good citizens of Jerome wish to put the $3.25 million on their property tax “credit card,” they have a constitutional right to go to the polls and vote for it. The City created the problem by allowing the companies to dump their waste into the sewer and it is simply wrong to attempt an end run of voters in an attempt to pay for their shortcomings.
Check out the details from the Twin Falls TIMES-NEWS.
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