Update on HB 47- Bill To Rein In The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District Board

Information provided by Marlys J. Barbee, Secretary/Treasurer CITIZENS AGAINST MWCD ASSESSMENT

Policy RadarThe Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) is a state government subdivision which is trying to put a $270 million general tax upon the 2.1 million people of all or part of the following Ohio counties: Ashland, Belmont, Carroll, Coshocton, Guernsey, Harrison, Holmes, Knox, Licking, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Richland, Stark, Summit, Tuscarawas, Washington and Wayne.

The main issue is that the MWCD is allowed by the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 6101 to apply an assessment upon the people who receive a direct benefit for their “services”. However, the MWCD are trying to say ALL properties in the 18-county district are receiving a benefit, thus the “assessment” has now become a general tax. There is no vote by the people, no say in how much money is collected, no say as to who spends the money or how the money is spent. This government sub-division must be put back into the box. Their power is out of control.

Attempting to do just that, Rep. Bob Gibbs (R) of Lakeville, Ohio, has introduced legislation which would require a board of directors, not a conservancy court of judges, to perform certain functions under the Conservancy District’s law, and prohibits the levying of an assessment by such a conservancy district on real property that is not directly benefited from the assessment. There are a number of other reasons to support this legislation as we (CAMA — Citizens Against MWCD Assessment) have delved into the workings of MWCD, finding corruption and dishonesty.

This bill, HB 47, in now in the Economic Development and Environment Committee, chaired by Rep. Thom Collier. We need people to contact the committee members, asking their support of HB 47. By going to the web site, www.stopmwcd.org , you can find the names and contact information of all the committee members.

The next hearing on this bill is May 16, and we are hoping a final hearing on May 23 will bring this bill to a vote. Our opponents are using taxpayer’s money to pay lobbyists to convince these lawmakers of their “right” to do what they are doing. We as grassroots workers need the taxpayers themselves to come to our aid to win this battle.

This web site will also give you more detailed information regarding our research and concerns. The support from people all over the state of Ohio is necessary as we look forward to having this bill pass committee and go to the House floor for a vote, then on to the Senate. Most legislators know nothing about what is wrong with this one Conservancy District out of all Conservancy Districts across the state that has gone out of control as a “recreation district”.