I read Frank Lucent’s 11/24/19 piece, “If upset…" and I must say, “Once a politician always a politician."
In the example given the personal property tax [the amount actually paid] went up 44% and the rate [$ paid per $1,000 valuation] went up 60.5%. Since this was just an example, I went back to my records and found our PP went up 47.1%, again nothing like the 30% suggested.
Naïve as I am, I believe that those who represent us should look out for our interest and tell the truth. Unfortunately, I find examples every day where this is not true. We need to put in place some new measures that will insure we get honesty and accountability. I suggest as a starter, these modest proposals:
1. By statute, limit all tax and fee increases to equal the change in the consumer price index [CPI]. This would apply to the actual amount paid, not the “rate” or other accounting flimflam number.
2. Any increase required beyond the CPI statute be approved by referendum of those impacted by the proposed tax increase.
3. Any new expenditure that increases the total city budget by 5%, or more, be approved by the voters.
4. The city be required to have an active cost reduction program and that a progress report to council be published in the media every 6 months.
5. Citizen complaints of alleged waste be published in the local media. The city to pay for this reporting space in the newspaper.
As a separate item, to reduce administrative cost and reduce the impact of large separate real estate and personal property bills on the citizens, I propose the city send out bills every other month. Each bill would have a line item for: water & sewer, 1/6th of the total real estate tax, 1/6th of the personal property tax and 1/6th of the storm water assessment. Half the citizens would be billed one month, the other half the next month. In my case, annual city mailings would be reduced from 10 to 6.
John S. R. Lawrence