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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Huntsville To Add Toll Booth - UPDATED

Over the last couple of weeks we have been compiling some stories from Huntsville.  This is one of two Huntsville related postings today.

First, the town of Huntsville apparently has been toying with the idea of a toll road leading to Cemetery point.  Isn't it already a toll road, you ask?  Actually, it is, but here is the deal.

American Land and Leisure is the concessionaire of the Forest Service concessions at various locations around Pineview.  AL&L places their tollbooth on Huntsville's road and charges entrants some $10 per vehicle to pay their staff and add to their bottom line.  In a good year, upwards of 30,000 vehicles, many pulling heavy trailers, travel the mile or so down First street - you do the math.  AL&L collects the money and Huntsville says they get nothing except for well traveled roads and a lot of weekend riffraff.

Apparently Huntsville has tried to get assistance from AL&L and the Forest Service but now feel a second, town operated toll booth is the only answer.

Huntsville says second tollbooth only solution 

From the article:
Mayor Jim Truett said the traffic from summer recreationists is damaging the road and Huntsville doesn’t have   money to pay for repairs.    “We’re stuck between a rock and a hard spot,” he said.    The road has been a problem for years, he said, and is getting to the point where the town has to take action. 

Councilman Max Ferre said that in a good year the road sees more than 30,000 trucks and boats, which the town says are the major cause of wear   and tear on the road and a danger to residents. However, AL&L Vice Presi dent Steve Werner said the road is no worse than others in the town.    

“I can empathize with their situation. There are a lot of folks who travel there through the summer, but I don’t think First Street is any worse off than other streets, so it’s hard to fully accept responsibility for the damage to that road,” he said.     

He said the damage appears to be caused by normal freeze-and-thaw and winter plowing.
We will interject with 30,000 vehicles traveling to Cemetery Point vs. the vehicles operated by Huntsville residents.  With only about 250 homes in the town, most residents never even drive on first street.
(Mayor)Truett said the council has asked for help from the Forest Service and AL&L, and the best plan is to add $2 to the toll AL&L charges, to go to a First Street perpetual road fund.     

He said AL&L has rejected that plan, though, so the town is ready to create its own toll booth, which would charge $3, with the extra dollar going toward paying the booth operator. He said the booth would be operational when Cemetery Point opens.     

Werner said AL&L could not donate money to the city,   and is still checking to see whether the Forest Service would approve collecting $2 for Huntsville.     

While he understands why the town feels it has to make this move, Werner said it will have a detrimental effect on AL&L.     

“We feel it’s pretty unprecedented to have a city collect a fee to go over their land to go to national forest land,” he said. “We’ve never had that before.”
It sounds like an old fashioned stand off to us.  We will be eagerly watching for construction of a new booth - in the mean time, we will be launching our boat at Port Ramp come Memorial day weekend.

Who will be the first to comment?

UPDATE: 4/1/10 @ 1:45 pm

The Standard Editorial board weighed in on the issue with this:
No to extra toll booth
And don't miss this Grondahl masterpiece.


Toll Payer said...

AL&L should be ashamed of themselves. By including the extra toll for the town in their established booth, they could work this out. This is done in many other places. If they don't, then Huntsville should collect the extra toll.

Pineview Boater said...

AL&L has been stalling and dragging out the inevitable for years and it is about time the issue came to a head. Good for Huntsville for finally holding their ground, although AL&L's toll is already outrageous.

They should show some corporate responsibility and share some of their fortunes to help repair the road without an additional toll.

Another perspective said...

This is pure bull___. There "should be" no toll booth nor any charges for using the boat launch area, nor the park, or the beach.

We already are paying through the nose in taxes. To the State Parks, Forest "Service", and for B&C road maintenance via gasoline taxes, both State and Federal taxes.

Our taxes would already cover all the maintenance if not for the greed heads in the Forest "Service" who sit in offices and do nothing, but like most Governmental agencies, - back up to the pay windows. They also "hire" others, like LLC to do whatever work they do not want to do. Which is just about everything imaginable except shuffle paperwork and play with their toys.

We seriously need to fire all these bureaucratic and abusive people who are always looking for more and more ways to charge the public for what they are already paying for... None of them understand basics; like we pay them to do the work, they hire others to do the work for them, and the "others" charge us fees. Hence, their laziness and incompetence ends up costing us taxpayers three to four times what it should and once did.

Public beaches, parks, and marinas "should be" "free" to the public, since we are already paying through the nose for them in hundreds of ways.

Max Ferre is a dolt, a prior school system sponge, who should know better. But has a reputation for being a suck up without any real nor original ideas.

The Huntsville Town Council should know better than to lower speed limits to increase revenue on their first street speed trap. And now try to charge for using a street in no worse shape than any other street in town. Proof of the road condition is obvious to anyone with a vehicle.

Just Say'in said...

Right on! Another Perspective.

How about this. Stop paying Weber County for "Public Safety" to the tune of $45,000 a year, when the Weber County Deputies are already being paid for out of property taxes.

Instead, make an agreement with the County that all speed trap fine money (cited within Town limits) be returned to Huntsville Town, or the County for the portion that is outside Town limits for road maintenance. That speed trap money (about $40,000 a year) along with the $60K road maintenance money annually available to the Town, plus the $45,000 being wasted on a service which is already being paid for by everyone in the County via our property taxes, will amount to about $150,000 a year.

This would more than pay for repaving first street of Huntsville AND the County sections over two or three years.

Stop with the pay pay pay and pay some more for something already paid for already!!

If Only That Easy said...

Just sayin'/ another perspective and "dolt":

For some history, Huntsville and other small municipalities have had their own police force for decades and have thus been responsible for their own police protection (as well as road care, utilities, etc.)

In recent years, Sheriff Slater began providing contract police service to smaller incorporated communities such as Huntsville, Uintah and others. The smaller communities realized the contract cost outweighed the expense of running their own department - vehicles, wages, etc.

While there possibly exists an issue of double taxation, that is a fight too large for Huntsville to fight alone.

As for the "dolt" name calling, that is a sure way to get your point across and a sure way to elicit support to your cause.

Good luck with that.

West sider said...

Sheriff Slater is simply doing what others before him have always done. And it is merely a precedent set by tradition without apparent legality nor necessity.

Back in 1960s Huntsville had its own speed trap cop, who was paid out of the tickets he wrote on people headed to Cemetary Point And like other small "speed trap" towns it had its own JP Court. To someone 50 years ago it must have seemed what small towns do to raise revenue.

Here is your test. Sit down with the County Comptroller, Dan Olsen. Ask him this question, "What services would not be provided to Huntsville or Uintah, if Huntsville or Uintah simply dis incorporated?

He will say, regarding Public Safety or Security or County Law Enforcement or whatever you want to call it, none really. The County is required by State statute to provide the same protections and services as they provide in Eden or Liberty. (That is because as County residents you are already being charged for these services.) Just as for fire protection. But Eden and Liberty are not paying more than $100,000 to County agencies over and above the property taxes. Huntsville's mil levy rate per tax unit is the same as or higher than Eden, Liberty, and the unincorporated areas. And these areas or tax units get the same service Huntsville is paying twice for.

"But its always been done that way", is the status quo rut

If your town tells the County you are making serious plans to un incorporate (again as was done back in the early 1900s), since they provided no support to keep your Valley Elementary, and do nothing to provide any services that the town residents are not already paying for separately.

Then watch how much sudden attention ($s) goes to road maintenance on your 1st Street.

And if not, just do it. Unincorporate until and unless the property tax mil levy rate is drastically reduced to account for the reduction in required County services requirements. All you will do is save residents from having to pay twice for most services and you can then afford to repave, snow remove and maintain the streets as an unincorported self governed township.

For decades, your town has been paying "extortion fees" in the form of double taxation in order to keep Weber County from exercising control within your Town limits. To keep your 3/4 acre standard lot sizes. Valley Elementary and the library which your citizens paid heavily by donating the land on which they sat/sit. Beyond that, there is nothing Weber Co. holds over Huntsville aside from perhaps an alleyway donated for the Elem school and the playground plat also donated by a resident to the County. County "thanks" does not show reciprocity nor does it honor the sacrifices made by the Town to accomodate the County. Especially now that they and the County County School District let the Elementary School go.
Eden and Liberty control their own parks, cemetaries, water, secondary water, and planning. So what is left to loose? Seems Eden has more political pull than Huntsville and they are not incorporated. They got the Valley Elementary School.

Agree about the "dolt" comment. Not a good way to get a point across.