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Plastic bag tax proposed to City Council at work session

MASON CITY - The Mason City Youth Task Force presented a proposal to the Mason City City Council at a council work session last night.

MASON CITY – The Mason City Youth Task Force presented a proposal to the Mason City City Council at a council work session last night.

The Youth Action Teams were invited by the City Environmental Stewardship Advisory Committee to help work on a project to reduce the use of plastic shopping bags in Mason City.

The Youth Action Teams asked the City Council to pass an ordinance placing a five cent user fee on plastic shopping bags from 2010 through 2015 to target a 20% reduction of plastic bag usage within five years, with the option of renewing the fee ordinance if usage has not declined as hoped.

NorthIowaToday.com contacted members of the City Council and Mayor Bookmeyer and received comments from Councilmen Jeff Marsters, Max Weaver, Scott Tornquist.

Mr. Tornquist says he is in a “listening mode” at this time on this subject and would like input from the community.

Mr. Marsters questioned the enforceability and therefore the fairness of the ordinance. He also raised this question, among others: “Is there a specific use for the collected fees or just simply in reality just another tax?”

Mr. Weaver says he supports looking at ways to protect the environment but questions the need to further tax citizens to do so.

Check out the chart below that outlines how much revenue the ordinance might produce and how it would be allocated:

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