Letter: Tax hikes – will they never end
I just received my statement for 2015 taxes, payable in 2016. In my case and others I’ve spoken with, a 33 percent increase in total property taxes is typical for 2015. The school district bond expenses jumped from 10.03 mills to 15.592, a 55 percent increase. The Fire Department mill levy went up 29 percent. At least the Fire Department increase is only for two years. The school district is for 20 years.
To be fair, not all of the whopping increase is because of these two issues. The mill levy increased from 72.89 in 2014 to 78.344 in 2015, an increase of “only” 7.5 percent. But wait, in addition to the mill levy, the assessed valuation increased, in my case, an additional 23.5 percent. My total tax bill increased 33 percent. Many of my neighbors report the same total increase. One newspaper reported 18 percent.
So what happened to produce this kind of an increase when the blue voter books and the papers led you to expect relatively modest increases? It’s fairly simple. The county assessor works to compile all sales and comparable values for many months. Remember from 2008 until recently, when the trend was down? They and all of the elected officials know, too, and for the most recent period, 2015, they almost all decided to keep their mill levy the same, or increase it. Jackpot, here come the windfall taxes from the valuation increase.
To add a few insults, Carbondale now plans to ask you for more to pay for capital improvements. They project something in excess of $4,250,000 over 10 years. That’s fine, but don’t break the back of the common homeowner to support a flawed view of sustainability. I was told by more than one council member that the town had plenty of reserves. What happened? Where did the surplus go?
And, just to make everyone a little more miserable, the town council wants to tax your heat and electricity to fund tax credit and grant supported nonprofits that have been subsidized for years. They should be able to stand on their own based on the good they do. This is another redistribution but totally regressive tax. There is an election coming in April. Let’s stop tax nonsense.
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