My husband and I are both retired and are rural home owners with an aging fleet of vehicles, all older than 2005 (ask anyone). In fact, I am sure that at least one reader has passed us on the road on more than one occasion only to ask themselves, “Why don’t they get a new car? “Our standard answer? “Because it works and is paid for.”
We are not debt-free and do not live a lavish lifestyle. We contribute to local charities, to include the United Fund, Human Society, etc., yet are being targeted for an increase in property taxes as part of the upcoming November ballot simply because we are part of a group called “property owners.”
On Nov. 7, residents will be asked to vote on a permanent improvement levy that supports a number of schools throughout Huron County and the surrounding area to be paid for by people like us, based on the value of our property, regardless of our income or income-to-debt ratio.
While I am not opposed to ensuring our local schools have appropriate funding for maintenance or other improvement efforts, I am opposed to how each citizen’s cost share is being calculated for the proposed levy, which only targets property owners and is calculated in increments of $25,000. If I am not mistaken, that means those who do not own real estate and do not currently contribute to the existing levy that this replaces will get to vote on the issue even though they are not impacted, and those of us already paying for the existing levy will be subject to an increase that by default is permanent.
A citizen who owns $50,000 in real estate doesn’t necessarily earn $50,000 per year. So, whether a property owner’s cost share is $1.50 per $25,000 of value or 50 cents per $25,000 is immaterial. I would ask that if current or proposed legislation does not pass the test of fiscal fairness for every citizen, rent or own, that it go back for further examination.