April Fool's Update at 7:47 p.m.
In other news, we are totally joking. There is no Subaru charge and no bike tax is on the horizon. The Teton Valley News would like to thank BOCC board chair Kelly Park for coming to us with this idea, as well commissioner Kathy Rinaldi for playing along.
We hope you enjoyed this as much as we did. Happy April Fool's Day!
County to charge "Subaru tax"
In an unannounced, private meeting, the Teton County Board of Commissioners decided to implement a $250 fee for anyone who owns any kind of Subaru branded vehicle in Teton County. A $500 dollar charge will be issued for every additional Subaru registered in the same household. The decision came after a recommendation from the newly formed road committee.
Board Chairman Kelly Park said it was high time the county recognized what is really damaging county roadways.
“We have to be realistic, there is no way that a small rural county like ours can keep up with the wear and tear that these Subaru’s are putting on our roads, its ridiculous,” he said.
Park cited a previously unpublicized study that the BOCC hired former county contract planner Steven Loosli to conduct. It showed between 64 and 81 percent of county road maintenance funds are used to repair damage caused by Subarus, as well some Volvos. A line of the report read, “station wagons are the real problem.”
Even without looking at statistics, Park said people can see the dangerously high numbers of Foresters and Outbacks that are swarming Teton Valley.
“I mean look at Barrels and Bins, you’d have an easier time counting the cars that are not Subarus,” he told the TVN.
Even though minutes, transcripts nor a recording from the meeting have been made public, sources who work at the courthouse report the meeting lasted well over five hours, which included several breaks so the BOCC members could calm down after what were we describe as “shouting matches.”
Commissioner Kathy Rinaldi said she was against the fee and that her first response was something along the lines of, “come on… , I’m just…., really!?”
Rinaldi recorded a section of the meeting on her smartphone, one of her responses went as followed.
“Are we seriously gonna do this? Seriously? Let’s not single anyone out, why don’t we put a fee on cowboy hats and Carhart jackets while we’re at it, those people drive big trucks that rip up the roads. I mean come on.”
The Teton Valley News is looking into if and exactly which state open meetings laws were violated by the secret BOCC meeting, and has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the county requesting all notes, transcripts and documents related to the “Subaru charge,” be turned over.”
In a short release the day after the decision was made, Park said people have called him a “red neck commissioner” and that this is “what being a real red neck commissioner looks like.” He also said they are looking at expanding the tax to include a charge for bike, kayak or ski racks.
The release also laid out one of Park’s next main goals, levying a tax on bicycle owners in order to raise money for repairs to the county’s landfill cap.
The nonprofit Valley Advocates for Responsible Development has issued a response. In an email Executive Director Stacey Frisk said, “as advocates for fiscal responsibility, we support any effort to take peoples money, land, puppies or souls. As long as a portion of the fee goes to the United Nations Teton Valley Resettlement Working Group, I'm totally on-board.”