The Billings Outpost

Taxation without representation

The people of Lockwood voted the sewer project down five times. After the most recent vote in November of last year, the Sewer Board hired a consultant to hold a series of meetings with residents. They sent a questionnaire to residents asking people their opinion of a property assessment to create pipes through the residential streets in Lockwood. Sewer Board Chairman Carl Peters calls this a “survey.”

As a result of the “survey,” the board resolved to create a “Phase II Sewer Subdistrict” and a “Special Assessment Levy” tax on the 642 property owners of the redrawn Phase II. Each property will be charged $472.92 per year, regardless of property value or lot size. This may represent a great hardship to fixed-income persons and families with low income. The Sewer Board is at leave to sell the property if the land owner does not pay the assessment. That could be devastating for many.

The only voice the people of Lockwood have on this procedure is to lodge a written protest by July 28, 2014. According to the county attorney, 51 percent of the affected property owners must present one of these protests in order to change the Sewer Board’s proposed action. There will be a meeting Aug. 13, after the protest due date. By then, the protest time is over and if people do not respond now, they will be charged this new tax. I see this as taxation without representation.

Mana Lesman Seward


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