The issue of Home Rule for Ramsey County is not dead, but alive and well, as far as the Ramsey County Commission is concerned.

The issue of Home Rule for Ramsey County is not dead, but alive and well, as far as the Ramsey County Commission is concerned.

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Ramsey County Commission, Home Rule was on the agenda to be discussed. Plus, they are looking for committee members from within the community to help see it through to election day. Although it did not pass the last time it was on the ballot, that hasn’t stopped supporters from bringing it up again.

“Home Rule would be good for Ramsey County,” says Commissioner Ed Brown. According to Brown having a Home Rule Charter for Ramsey County could help residents, especially those who pay property taxes, because as it stands now the only source of revenue the county has is property taxes. Legally they (the county) can’t levy any other type of tax, like sales tax, for example, no matter how much expenses go up. Therefore property taxes, the sole source of revenue for the county and its many areas of responsibility, are affected as the county’s costs go up. Property taxes go up to keep pace.

The City of Devils Lake does have a Home Rule Charter and therefore the city can levy sales tax to help cover expensive road or infrastructure needs and repairs. Not without a vote of the people, however. That’s how we got an extra one quarter of a cent sales tax with the proceeds that go to fixing the infrastructure needs within the city. Remember, the voters in the city overwhelmingly supported it in March of 2018? Having that extra income helps pay for the city’s needs without having to raise property taxes. In essence it allows more people to help pay for the city’s infrastructure needs. More people help shoulder the burden of paying the bills. That’s what the county would like to be able to do, as well. Rather than having to raise property taxes, they would like to bring to the voters ways to add a fraction of a cent sales tax, for example, to help pay for the numerous county responsibilities.

As the county works to find ways to fund the many areas it is responsible for, the commissioners are convinced having a Home Rule Charter is the best answer. So they’re bringing it back in hopes of getting it on this year’s ballot. Most of the work is already done because a hard-working committee has already put together a Home Rule Charter which is already personalized for Ramsey County. They did that last year. The work, for the most part, is already done. Now, they need to show voters how it will benefit everyone to support a Home Rule Charter for the county.

If you are interested in helping to get this on the November 2020 ballot, please contact the Ramsey County Auditor’s Office in the courthouse, call 662-7007. For a copy of the Home Rule Charter go to www.co.ramsey.nd.us and search for Home Rule Charter and you can read through the completed document.