BOUNTIFUL -- A couple of city councilmen are publicly asking what benefit city residents gain from special fees and taxes being assessed to help fund the purchase and protection of transportation corridors.
Councilmen Richard Higginson and Fred Moss used discussion of a minor legality involving the Council of Governments at a recent meeting to ask bigger questions about how motor vehicle registration fees of $10 per vehicle benefit the city.
COG administers the fee.
Higginson initiated the debate.
"A lot of money has been wasted. How do you go buy land when you don't know where the highway goes?"
Moss remembers serving on the council when the issue of a fee for the land purchase and preservation came up.
He said the council said no to the proposal, only for the Davis County Commission to vote in support of it anyway.
"It's frustrating to me," Moss said. "We went through the whole thing on the council, and we voted no and were told, 'Too bad, your vote really didn't matter.' "
Higginson took aim at COG and wondered if anything involving the fee is going to change.
"It would be nice to know from COG when does that $10 ever go away? Do citizens ever have a right to say enough is enough?"
Mayor Joe Johnson noted the issue before the council was not about the fee but rather about taking away the ability of four or five people who serve on COG to vote on fiscal matters.
Mayors from all the municipalities in the county participate in the group, along with county commissioners.
Higginson reminded Johnson he had been in a COG leadership role when the fee was approved.
Regarding the taxes and fees, Higginson said, "We pay taxes every time we buy gas. Bountiful has received no benefit from it. We get triple taxation. It's an irritation."