While a majority of the council seems to be gravitating toward an option to fund the upgrades without raising property taxes, the meeting revealed that there are still questions about how it would be implemented.
The option that appears to have the most support from the council involves the county contributing $39.9 million, with developers contributing the remaining $26.6 million in the form of surcharges and increased traffic impact fees. The county has identified five road improvement projects that would be funded with the money. The county has identified another four long-range projects that would cost $97 million.
Councilor Temple Lentz asked many questions about how the projects would be paid for if traffic impact fees didn’t pan out. She also said she was reluctant to vote for the project without more information about them. At the end of the meeting, she said she was disappointed that documents for the meeting had been posted the day before and had undergone further changes. Other councilors agreed.
“Complete materials need to be posted at least one week prior, and that’s not an unreasonable request,” said Lentz, noting the gravity of the decision.
The council also heard from the public. David McDonald, a Ridgefield resident and lawyer, questioned if the proposed infrastructure upgrades were adequate. He also questioned if developers were paying enough under the proposed plan.
Carol Levanen, of property rights group Clark County Citizens United, and Sue Marshall, board president of environmental group Friends of Clark County, also had a rare agreement when they both raised concerns about the burden on taxpayers.
The council also heard from proponents of lifting urban holdings. Allison and Jim Carlson told the council how they purchased property in the 1990s that was later placed in urban holdings. They said the designation has prevented them from selling the property.
“So it’s left us in 14 years of limbo, which has not been a pleasant situation at all,” said Allison Carlson.
Randy Printz, an attorney for Holt (one of the developers), told the council that this wasn’t an issue of growth or no growth. Instead, he pointed out that the county made the decision when it passed its comprehensive plan in the 1990s that designated the area for development.