County shouldn’t bill for television translator district

I have recently had a billing for Blue Mountain Translator District appear on my tax bill. I called the BMTD office and was told that my form requesting exemption was indeed in their office but that I would have to pay the $100 then request a refund. I was also made to understand that BMTD seldom gave refunds. I called the Baker County Assessor’s Office and was told that they could not remove the charge from my tax bill. Several calls took place between my house and these offices without any resolution. I spoke with some neighbors and discovered that I wasn’t the only one incorrectly billed and that one party had proof that they’d sent in their exemption form to BMTD last year but had to pay the assessment and never got their money back. I depend on Social Security for my income and am barely able to save enough to pay my taxes. I was more than a little upset when I was told that I had to pay it even though it wasn’t my fault.

When did the assessor’s office become a collection agency for another entity? They surely have plenty of county business to tend to without being an agent for BMTD. The television district appears to be an outdated service in light of the fact that there are now several sources available to receive TV programs and the collection process is certainly questionable. The fact that they require you to pay a bogus debt or the fee will be considered delinquent taxes is a form of extortion.

Perhaps it’s time to lay this District, the use of the assessor’s office as a billing/collection service and the requirement that you ask for an exemption every year to rest. BMTD should do their own billing and collections and be held responsible for maintaining accurate records. I urge all taxpayers included in this system and with any concerns about how BMTD business is conducted to please attend the Nov. 7 meeting at noon at Baker City Hall, 1655 First St.

Esther Young

Baker City