The proposed bag fee ordinance kicked off in 2011 with the Bag-It petition. City councilors said they felt the majority of Durango residents supported this tax (“fee”) citing the Bag-It petition, with nearly 1,000 signatures.
A detailed review of the petition revealed only 186 of the 900 signatures were valid by city rules used for recall petitions. A large number of signatures were from people who lived out of Durango. To be fair, you do not need to be from Durango or a registered voter to sign a petition. However, City Council can take action on any petition, which means the city spends time and tax dollars to address whatever cause is being presented.
Polls have shown the majority of residents and businesses here are not in favor of the proposed ordinance.
Most people have determined this is a symbolic ordinance and the negative consequences far outweigh any negligible benefit. Studies show that plastic and paper grocery bags account for only 0.15 percent of solid waste. Further, during my last highway clean-up effort, I found only four grocery bags out of 20 large bags of litter we collected. This ordinance will push people to shop outside Durango, as evidenced by letters to the editor and surveys showing reduced retail sales for businesses where a bag tax has been implemented.
If the mayor and City Council really want to do something environmentally meaningful, they need to start doing their homework. A first step would be looking at ways to reduce the litter that never makes it from your trash container to the city trash trucks (look at your street after the city picks up trash). How about giving businesses and nonprofit groups an incentive to participate in highway clean-up programs?
You will see the bag fee supporters put out questionable information during the next month. Please visit www.NOdurangobagtax.com for more information about the ordinance and credible factual information.
When you get your ballot in the mail, please vote against this poorly thought-out symbolic ordinance.