To the Editor:
These are some observations and recommendation from Wednesday April 25, 2012, meeting.
The major portion of the bridge revenue comes from "day trippers." The GIBA expert stated that there will be no decrease in bridge traffic as a result of any of the proposed toll increases. That included the most aggressive toll increase proposed that went along with no additional property tax.
The financing institutions do not require that the financing be backed by any property tax. An increase in tolls would provide the same level of terms as a property tax increase. There is no benefit in financing terms between toll only increase and property tax increase.
The very confusing "toll increase/tax" survey showed that a majority of those registered voters that responded voted for no tax. The survey identified three scenarios, two levels of tax increases and their associated toll increase, and a no tax at all with its associated toll increase.
The voters were only asked to vote, yes or no, on the two levels of tax increase but not on the toll increase without tax increase. To vote for "no tax increase" one had to know that a "no" to both tax increases would indicate that the respondent did not want a tax increase, or write on the survey "no tax increase" or not complete the survey. Very confusing, even so, more than half of respondents voted no tax.
The board voted to place the question as to a property tax to the voters in this November's election.
If this referendum is placed on the ballot it will also be confusing to the voters. Will the voters assume that the tax increase is required for the completion of the bridge, or will the voters remember that we do not need a property tax increase to secure bridge financing?
Can or will the referendum words identify this issue?
I suggest that the GIBA members reconsider their motion to put the tax increase on the ballot, as a large portion of the voters will get the impression that the bridge construction requires this tax increase.
I appreciate your time and consideration on this matter.