22-MILLION REASONS TO VOTE AGAINST THE GARBAGE TAX ON OCTOBER 9
The NABORS Interlocal Alliance is proposing a 3/8 sales tax and a $22 million bond debt for Baxter taxpayers in the October 9, 2012 Special Election. Here’s why you should vote NO on these proposals.
- Brief background.
The NABORS Interlocal Alliance (the Alliance) wants to buy the NABORS Landfill & Hauling Company from the present owner, Ozark Mountain Solid Waste Management District (the District). The District is composed of the 6 counties of Baxter, Boone, Carroll, Marion, Newton, and Searcy. The Alliance was created in early 2010 by Baxter and Marion counties and the city of Mountain Home.
- The original acquisition plan is no longer possible.
In its articles of creation, the Alliance planned to acquire all of the District’s assets by assuming all outstanding debts, including $12 million in old bond debt, and take responsibility for all operating, financial, and environmental liability. But the Alliance’s financial advisors found out that this was not legally permissible. Also, the landfill and hauling company was in danger of defaulting because income was not sufficient to pay for existing debt. The Alliance had to find another way to get money to buy the company.
- Tax and spend.
The Alliance directors determined that they would need about $17 million… or $18 million… or $20 million or $22.6 million…oh, let’s call it $22 million to buy the company. This amount of bonds would retire the old bonds, pay the expenses of selling the new bonds, and provide some money for improvements and environmental cleanup that hadn’t been accomplished in the past 8 or more years. But it would provide nothing to improve operating revenue.
To raise the $22 million, they would sell $22 million in bonds and, because operations could never cover the expense of repaying the debt, they proposed an increase in sales taxes by 3/8 cent in Baxter County to pay for the bonds over their 12 to 20 year life.
- The intended protection of Baxter County and its taxpayers will be eliminated.
When the Baxter County Quorum Court passed the ordinance creating the Alliance in 2010, promises were made by the proposers (in particular, by Messrs. Joe Bodenhamer and David Osmon) that the county and the taxpayers would be shielded from financial and environmental liability. This protection would be provided by the state statutes under which the Alliance was created. This was affirmed by County Attorney Ron Kincade in a letter dated July 19, 2010.
If the tax and bond debt is passed, that promised protection will be eliminated. Under the Alliance’s proposal, ONLY Baxter County taxpayers will bear the 3/8 cent increase in sales tax and ONLY Baxter County taxpayers will be indebted in the amount of $22 million. The other counties that are presently members of the 6-county consortium will be relieved of all responsibility for environmental damage, all liability for the present bond indebtedness, all bank debts, all operating responsibility. Those counties will benefit from the new ownership but they will bear none of the risk of ownership and none of the jeopardy of operations.
Baxter County voters have an opportunity to reject this ill-conceived & dangerous tax and bond proposal. Vote NO on October 9. Save Baxter County from an act of fiscal suicide.