For the first time in nearly 15 years, Franklin County residents will see a slight bump in the annual fee for weed control.
County commissioners unanimously voted Wednesday to approve a $3 increase in the assessment fee, raising the amount people pay per parcel from $5 to $8.
The jump will inject an estimated $86,000 into the Franklin County Noxious Weed Control budget.
The money will help pay for education, staffing, equipment and other necessities, said Victor Reeve, department coordinator.
The annual rate most people in residential neighborhoods will pay is $8 because those homes are on one parcel, Reeve said. Residents in unincorporated areas pay a rate based on their property size and other factors.
The goal of the weed control board is to educate residents about the problems with certain problem weeds, such as the common Yellow Starthistle which can harm cattle and horses if eaten and Kochia plants which can crowd out irrigated crops.
The department doesn’t normally spray weeds on private property, but rather monitors the problem and educates residents, Reeve said.
Farmers at the meeting Wednesday told commissioners that while nobody likes to see rate increases, it’s essential to keeping the weed control program afloat.
Reeve later told the Herald that while operating costs have gone up and staff has increased since the last time rates were raised, the amount collected has stayed the same.
“We need to have enough money available to fund the program in a manner necessary to get the job done,” he said.
This is only the third time the department has asked to raise the fee since it was created in 1986. The last increase was in 2001 when it went from $3 to $5.