Come January, Jacksonville residents will begin paying twice as much in local taxes on the gasoline they put in their cars and trucks.
This will be the result of a 14-5 vote by the City Council recently.
The tax increase was predicated on the unproven and irrelevant assertion that politicians 50 years ago promised all city residents they would have free city sewer service provided.
Since that time, city sewerage has been expanded 740 miles but homeowners have paid for the removal of their septic tanks and the connections to the new city sewer lines.
Under current policy, taxpayers will pay thousands of dollars for each new connection. The homeowner will pay nothing.
It will cost taxpayers billions of dollars if all septic tanks are replaced.
Politicians say that is necessary because septic tanks are a public health threat. But the politicians have done virtually nothing to prevent the alleged threat.
Instead, they have allowed the number of septic tanks to double. More than 2,700 have been added during the term of the current mayor, who is leading the effort to replace septic tanks.
Few, if any, homeowners have been required to fix leaking septic tanks.
Based on these facts, the Septic Tank Phase-out Program might more properly be called the Great Septic Tank Fake-out of 2022. It isn’t necessary and it doesn’t pass any cost/benefit test.
For thousands of homeowners the program will be a benefit. The value of their homes will increase.
But a few may be dismayed when they find they are required to pay hundreds of dollars for sewer service each year after they are connected.
The law calls for 70 percent of homeowners in an area to approve being connected when a connection is available. Some neighborhoods have turned it down in the past because their septic tanks were working fine and they didn’t want to start paying a new fee.
The mayor’s office does not respond to Eye on Jacksonville as it does to the more compliant local media so we don’t know whether that requirement will continue.
But if the requirement remains in effect, it will be interesting to see how many homeowners refuse the “free” stuff they are being offered.
As one wag said during the push for socialized medicine, “If you think health care is expensive now, wait until it’s free.”