Letters to the Editor

The rest of the story

At the aldermanic candidates forum on March 2, several candidates noted – correctly – that the city had raised property taxes for two consecutive years, 4.5 percent for fiscal year 2015 and 4.93 percent for fiscal year 2016. The clear implication was that our property taxes would be lower if the city was doing a better job of controlling expenses. Here’s the rest of that property tax story.

Between 2005 and 2015 the city did raise property taxes seven times, but it also lowered them three times and made no change at all.

The average Consumer Price Index – the rate at which employee salaries, gas for vehicles, electricity, water, cement, asphalt, computers, and the rest of stuff needed to run a city – for those two periods was 1.8 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively. So about one-third of the increases was for higher costs due to inflation.

For tax year 2014, owners of a home with an Equalized Assessed Value of $100,000 would have paid total property tax of $2,705. But the city’s share of that would is only $332 (~12 percent). The 2015 total property tax would have been $2,727 with the city receiving $342, an increase of $10 per $100,000 EAV. While we do not yet know the 2016 total property taxes, the city has asked for taxes which result in a 1.00706 percent of EAV which is $356 per $100,000 EAV, an increase of $14 over 2015.

So what services do you want to give up for your $24?

Charles Pitts, Lebanon