Taxes have gone up. Again. If you ask any member of Council, they will tell you there are places where the City is not running as efficiently as it could be. When you ask where, they seldom seem to have a specific answer. When they identify an area that needs work, the solution is almost always more money. Their measurement for success is how much money they can spend on the problem, as opposed to how much of the problem they solved.
If one day, we opened the fridge door, and the light was out, there is an unwritten checklist of things we would do. If this City Council were fixing the fridge, they would immediately run to Home Depot for a new lightbulb, and when that didn’t fix the problem, they would replace the compressor, and continue to replace components until someone observed that none of the other appliances worked, either. So, they would go to the Brick and purchase all new, top of the line appliances. They would congratulate themselves on the new kitchen, and acknowledge how much money they had to spend on the new kitchen, and how beautiful the kitchen is. Now, we have a new, very expensive kitchen …but the underlying issue still exists. If you point out the absurdity in their approach, they resort to blaming the previous homeowner for neglecting maintenance.
This is the kind of mismanagement that brought us to where we are today. This Council is patting themselves on the back for the lowest tax increase in 20 years and reducing it to how many cups of coffee it will cost you.
We need to shift away from the tax to spend culture within the city. The belief that money spent is a metric of success has brought us a Council that raises taxes as a first response rather than a last resort. The more they raise your taxes, the more they can spend, and the more they can boast about how much they have accomplished, even if the original problem remains fundamentally unaddressed.
In 2010, the average home had a municipal tax burden of $1561. In 2019, the average home had a municipal tax burden of $2586. Inflation was about 17% over this period of time, while the municipal tax increase was about 66%. It is no wonder this Council thinks they’re doing such a great job.
In our current situation of navigating a pandemic and the economic fallout we have yet to see, we need to be looking at where our financial problems originate. That is where we need to start repairs. We can only hope that someone on this City Council goes to the basement and flips the breaker.