Responses to two recent county judge columns
Here are responses to two recent columns by County Judge Dave Barkemeyer:
JURY DUTY—Judge Barkemeyer seems to reflect his frustrations on citizens who don’t show up for their assigned duty as prospective jurors.
His solution is to fine those who don’t show up. Several questions come to mind.
Who collects the fines? How much will the collection process cost? Has an analysis been done to show that the cost of collection will not exceed the amount collected?
If there is no follow through on the threat of fines will those who do show up get frustrated and decide not to show up as well? Don’t you think that these questions need answers before a plan is implemented?
As an election precinct judge I see each election where only a small portion of those eligible voters actually take time to act on the privilege that this democracy affords them. Should those not voting be fined as well?
I might propose, judge, that you and I attend high school civic classes and use our positions to educate those of their future civic duties such as voting and jury service.
PAV ING ROA D CR EW— Judge Barkemeyer has offered his thoughts on a fifth county road crew. This was a test balloon sent up by him and his supporters.
Who benefits? His plan would be to not increase property tax to pay for the fifth crew. That’s good since 85% of all county tax revenue comes from industry or city residents.
Both industry and city residents already have paved roads and streets. Judge Barkemeyer’s plan would only reallocate existing county funds assigned to the four county commissioner’s road maintenance funds.
Several months ago he praised commissioners for their handling of road maintenance funds. The funds are used to maintain the existing roads, for emergency repairs during times of bad weather, and the surplus over time is used for paving county dirt roads.
Without additional funds there doesn’t seem to be any benefit only a shuff ling of paper and forcing county commissioners to battle for the services of their own employees.
If Judge Barkemeyer and his supporters want paved roads in the county here is the answer.
Place on the ballet a proposal to eliminate the agriculture exemption on rural property in the county and have this type of property valued then at a similar rate to industry or home owner property (agriculture property is currently valued at about 1/12th that of industry and residential property).
This would not be a tax increase. It would be a valuation increase. Additional funds raised from this proposal could then be assigned to a new fifth paving road crew that would pave, over time, the existing county roads.
Thus, if the voters approves those who benefit from the paving would actually pay for the benefit. After all roads in the county are paved, the 5th crew could be disbanded and the county tax rate could be lowered.
Tommy Grimes email@example.com