The Longview City Council on Thursday will consider taking an official stance against the carbon fee on November’s ballot.
Initiative 1631 would impose a fee of $15 per ton on certain carbon dioxide emissions starting in January 2020 and would increase by $2 each year until the state’s 2035 greenhouse gas reduction goals are met. About 70 percent of the revenue would go into a fund for air quality and energy programs; 25 percent would be designated for water quality and forest health projects; and 5 percent would benefit healthy communities.
Longview Councilwoman MaryAlice Wallis, who will introduce the measure Thursday asking constituents to vote against the initiative, said she thought the carbon fee would put a burden on motorists by increasing the price of gas.
“That’s a big discouragement for people who are commuting,” she said Tuesday. “A lot of people have to leave our community to find work because of our industrial decline.”
She added that Longview residents would only see direct benefits from the 5 percent of revenue designated for healthy communities.
“There would be some benefits, but … the tax on the community is what people are actually going to see,” she said. “I was elected to protect the benefits of the community, and I need to look out for opportunities for the community to be benefited, not taxed to death and burdened with initiatives like this.”
Wallis will also ask the council during the meeting to allocate the remaining $17,000 in the Neighborhood Park Grant for a covered basketball court at the Elks Memorial Park by Lake Sacajawea.
The council unanimously supported the idea when nonprofit Harlie’s Hoops proposed it earlier this year. But the council ultimately denied the group’s grant request for $20,000 in August, citing its lack of other funding sources, public concern about additional structures at the lake and the possibility of the covered area attracting homeless people at night.
Wallis, who voted in favor of awarding the money to Harlie’s Hoops, said Tuesday that she wanted to bring the measure back to council because it is an “honorable” project, and the remaining $17,000 has not been designated for anything else.
“We need to remove the fear factor and allow the process to move forward, not take away benefits from the 99.9 percent in our community (out of) fear of what the 0.01 percent might destroy,” she said. “(The court) can bless our community, just like Civic Circle.”
Councilman Ken Botero will also ask the council to reconsider its decision to vacate an alley located between Seventh and Eighth avenues, south of Hudson Street after the requester, Vince Penta, expressed a different view of the agreement.
The council is also expected to:
- Ratify the declaration of emergency and curfew at Lake Sacajawea imposed on Sept. 27 to address growing frustration with homeless people who have been spending nights in the Lion’s Shelter at the lake.
- Recognize Erika Quiroz, Cary Bellows and Juice Quiroz with the Community Advocate Award for their work with Radical Love, an effort to provide nutritious meals to low-income and homeless community members.
- Close out the Columbia Heights road slide repair project.
- Consider a 3 percent general wage increase each year in 2019, 2020 and 2021 for Longview Police Guild members.
The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday in Longview City Hall.