Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

By Investigative Reporter, Linda Sutter – June 28, 2023

The Del Norte County Board of Supervisors (BOS) held a meeting this morning while everyone was at work. The meeting was to raise your property taxes through the sewer user fee. It was brought to the attention of the board members that people had not received the letter that was sent out to affected property addresses, but, three supervisors turned a deaf ear.

Those three supervisors who increased your property tax without proper notification were Valerie Starkey, Darrin Short, and Joey Borges.  Dean Wilson was the only one who understood that due process had not been met. Chris Howard was absent.

The Crescent City-Del Norte Taxpayer’s Association asked that the decision be delayed for 45 days so all property owners would be given an opportunity to have their voices heard. That request was blatantly denied. So the dog and pony show that everyone puts on by saying the pledge of allegiance is just for show because none of those people understand that means fair and equitable hearings and that the hearings should be liberally met. 

The audience was sparse and that was intentional because most people are at work from 9 to 5. The hearing was at 9 a.m. The audience that spoke were upset and angry, they were our elderly who are on fixed incomes without any chance of increasing their income 245% in five years to meet this new tax.

The public has a very difficult time in understanding why no reserves have been maintained throughout the years. The public was not  given any record or records that identify or quantifies historic or projected reserves needed for the service provided by the district. Nor did anything in the record pledge the net revenue for any specific purpose.

It should be noted if any affected property owners were not notified due to outdated contact information that would render the proposition 218 process procedurally defective.  There were names and proof presented at the meeting however, three supervisors turned a blind eye and a deaf ear.

Here are the questions:

1. Why is the county in such a hurry to get this pushed through?

2. Who will be monitoring how the money is spent?

3. Why haven’t there been reserves saved from the past?

None of those questions were allowed or answered.  

Lastly, the county informed signature gatherers that if the tenant paid for the sewer and water bill then that person could sign the petition. Only one signature would be counted though. Either the tenants or the property owner but not both.

There was some confusion seemingly perpetrated by the county as to how many signatures would be needed to reach 50% plus 1 to defeat this increase. The County said there were over 3300 connections but approximately 2400 property owners. According to Laura Dougherty, Director of Legal Affairs at Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, a simple majority protest is comprised of owners, not connections.

  1. Well it comes down to this, lets vote these suckers out I’m sorry I voted for Joey Borges, Joey just lost two votes here, the folks that said Joey is a good local person, well they will change their vote
    too but who can we vote for??? I guess I don’t trust any one of them.

  2. Thank you for keeping us informed. Dean Wilson will be the only public official that I would vote for in the future. The outcome was deeply disappointing, yet I’m not really surprised.

    1. The fight has just begun. An initiative to repeal this tax is completed and getting looked at by an attorney. We will then submit to county and begin collecting signatures. They are literally ripping us off. The County had a surplus of funds last year. They have $1.96 million in the Measure R tax money that they get from sales tax. There is absolutely no reason for their hands to be held out.
      They didn’t think twice in using #290,000.00 in public money to bail themselves out of a defaulted USDA loan. Nor did they blink an eye to set another $70,000.00 dollars of public money to keep the defunct Tri-Agency afloat. They don’t think twice about purchasing 15 new cars for health and services. Oh and how about the 4 new work trucks and a transport van.
      These supervisors want to increase your property tax in hopes you can no longer afford your taxes and then take your house and sell it when you can’t pay. I call bullshit. Most people on social security only take home $1200 a month. They literally do not care. In fact Darrin Short quickly says, “Oh we should get an ordinance,” at which time he was informed that was illegal.
      Dean Wilson supports the tax. He wanted to give the public an additional 45 days because several people did not get the prop 218 letter. Which means the vote can be challenged.
      I believe a repeal would be the best way to defeat the tax because everyone will get to vote not just the property owners.

    2. Perhaps one should hold up on voting for Dean Wilson, as he was in favor of raising taxes on the parcel owners, just recognized that the County dropped the ball on informing all the parcel owners of an inevitable tax coming their way. The 218 protest was a “long shot” due to the convaluted process any protest must go through especially in 45 days in order to halt the increase on your property taxes for only a certain portion of the County’s parcel owners. The County was especially slow in providing information essential in informing the affected parcel owners and sent out dated and disorganized lists to further inhibit the process. This whole process was rushed by the County to begin collecting additional funding to take care of decades of failure by the County to properly maintain the sewer system and set aside reserves for emergencies. The excuses offered by the current Board are at best lame, and at the worst another example of taking care of business for the County’s bureaucracy before addressing the “vital” needs of their constituents. Hiring more employees, and irrelevant expenditures seems to be just a continuation of the previous board’s mode of operation. No thought of paring back excessive government or making an actual effort to fund an actual vital bit of infrastructure. More of the same, and that includes Supervisor Wilson’s gamesmanship.

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