County mulled newspaper fee

first_imgA Clark County commissioner expressed interest in charging polluters, specifically newspapers, a special fee months before the Department of Environmental Services proposed the idea at a March 19 work session.Emails obtained by The Columbian through a public disclosure request show that a proposal to assess an “environmental surcharge” on newspapers did not receive high marks from department managers but was nonetheless presented at a county commissioners work session, where it was considered a top option.The newspaper surcharge, one of several fee proposals highlighted at the March meeting, followed a series of articles about commissioners David Madore and Tom Mielke, along with their involvement in hiring Don Benton, a Republican state senator, as head of the Department of Environmental Services.Benton has said, however, that there is no vendetta against the paper.The March meeting was used to help the Department of Environmental Services present scenarios to generate more revenue for the county’s water program, which has exhausted its fund balance and faces a $1.6 million shortfall.Two funding issues were addressed at the March meeting. For one, the county is on the hook to pay a $3.6 million lawsuit for violating the Clean Water Act. Meanwhile, new stormwater permitting requirements are driving up expenses within the program.last_img read more