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City could tax tabs for roads

Grand Coulee’s council is taking a casual look again at forming a Transportation Benefit District and charging $10 every time residents license their cars and pickups.

The money from a TBD goes into the city’s street fund, and that’s the only way the money can be used — for streets.

The TBD is a tool designed by the Legislature to help cities and towns make up for the financial hit taken when voters passed a statewide initiative in 1999. I-695 cut fees on annual vehicle tabs from 2 percent of a vehicle’s value to a flat $30. This hit cities and streets hard.

The initiative eliminated the vehicle excise tax and about 7 percent of the state’s revenue, a portion of which small towns depended on for street maintenance.

Currently Electric City and Elmer City are the only local municipalities that have formed such districts.

Electric City started collecting the fee in 2013, and has $34,625 in the fund. Elmer City passed its TBD ordinance in December 2015, and has about $2,500 in its fund.

Grand Coulee has historically shoved the issue onto the back burner, but a harsh winter and resulting bad roads could encourage revisiting the question in next month’s council meeting, April 18.

Golf course cleanup continues

Volunteers who worked at cleaning up the Banks Lake Golf Course last weekend probably completed about half the work, and another work session is planned for this weekend.

“We really appreciated the team spirit and all the help,” said Jim Keene, speaking for the commissioners of Grant County Port District 7, which owns the course.

Anyone interested in free cottonwood or in helping to clean up the course of trees taken down last fall should go to the course and look for Gary Haag or Jerry Sands, and plan on helping this Saturday and Sunday, April 1-2, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., said Sands, a commissioner for Grant County Port District 7.

Don’t fence me out

The new fence at the school district’s bus garage was cut and finally noticed by a bus driver on March 1, who failed to report it to police.

When it was reported, an officer located a camera, hoping the suspected burglar would return and be caught on camera.

Several days later, the officer returned and found 10 photos had been taken by the camera.

There appeared a mix of cats, a raccoon and a bird.

If anyone sees a cat, a raccoon or a bird walking around with wire cutters, please call 911.

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