Ballots are out!

I’m not big on tax increases and love the fact that we get to weigh in on these decisions. Too many of our elected representatives are far too loose with our hard earned money. That said, the two measures on the August 6 election ballot deserve your support.

Here’s my reasoning on the issues. First let’s consider the easy one. The RiverCom emergency services levy is a renewal levy. In other words, your taxes won’t actually increase. Vote it down and you will save 1/10 of a percent on your sales tax. But that 1/10 of a percent provides vitally important funds for our community dispatch services.

NCW Media published an interview with RiverCom Executive Director, Misty Viebrock, in our July edition of the Wenatchee Business Journal. The article included a complete review of Rivercom funding. If you’re not a subscriber you can access the E-Edition on NCWBusiness.com where you can read the interview and an in depth article on RiverCom funding. And remember that because the tax is on all retail sales much of the tax will be paid by tourists.

The second measure is for a tax increase to fund Link. This will increase your taxes by increasing the sales tax rate by 2/10 of 1 percent. If approved, the increase will take effect in two steps. The first 1/10 of 1 percent will go into effect next year the second will take effect in 2021.

The increase will fund expanded service including Sundays and Holidays. It will provide earlier and later service in order to accommodate employees and tourists. This is especially beneficial to Leavenworth, Chelan and Manson where the cost of housing often make it difficult for hospitality workers to afford to live and current service hours do not align well with work schedules.

Increased public transit service is also good for our seniors and disabled who need to travel to Wenatchee for health care or services not available in their local community.

Finally, whether you live in Leavenworth, Chelan or elsewhere in Chelan and Douglas County, our local economy is heavily impacted by tourism. Public transit is one of the few things that can help mitigate the impacts of tourism in the short term. Fewer cars traveling to events will help mitigate traffic congestion and parking issues. And the best news of all is out of area tourists will help pay for the service through their purchases while they are here.

If we had one criticism of the Link program it is that Link must do something to provide service to the Plain and Lake Wenatchee area. Considering Link continues to provide service to Ardenvoir, at a loss, it must find a way to provide some service into the Plain area.

That said, the overall benefits of the expanded Link service offer substantial benefits to the citizens of Chelan and Douglas County.

We encourage a yes vote on both measures.

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