We squeaked through another tax season with a small to no mill levy increase from the local government agencies. That is not to say we didn’t get a tax increase at all. I am sure most of us got an increase on our valuations in the spring giving the local governments a 2 to 3 percent increase already.
The city was the toughest fight to keep in line. They face a continuing increase in back-ended debt service to contend with and still want to increase services from the city as well. At the last meeting they were discussing what the debt structure looks like when they were talking about a new pool option. For the next three years the debt service continues to climb then it will finally level off and start to drop. Cooler heads prevailed and put off a multi-million dollar pool renovation because it would add to an already ballooning debt payment today, they weren’t interested in back-ending the debt like previous commissions did putting us in the position we are in now.
The county is still holding the mill levy steady. They run lean, but in my opinion the government which governs least governs best. All the ruling agencies we deal with from local to Washington DC would do well to heed that advice. The more rules and regulations you force businesses and people to follow the more expensive everything becomes, hurting all of us. Just look at the unintended consequences of actions of departments like the EPA. They force us to make already clean wastewater even cleaner than the water we drink so we have to spend an additional $40/month on our water/sewer bill just to pay for it.
The school district held steady as well. I believe it is more of a function of getting more money from the state because of the never ending lawsuits using our own money suing us for more money than lack of desire for more funds from the tapped out taxpayer. The district is also still quite excited about passing another bond and layering on more back-ended debt burdening the taxpayers and their children with oppressive mill levies.
I have been invited to be on the group of citizens who will work on the bond issue again to present it to the public for a vote. I am not a complete Ogre with a one word vocabulary, “NO”. I understand we are in a position at this time where government monopoly on education is what we have and that isn’t changing any time soon. If and when that might change to a more competitive use of our tax dollars will happen long after my children have graduated and have children of their own. In the mean time I know the infrastructure we have needs to be taken care of and prepared for the future 10-20 years of use.
From what I have seen of appointees to the group it is well balanced with people who truly want what is best for the community but have different opinions on how to achieve it. I will keep you apprised of the progress we make, well at least my view of it!
— Jason Mitchell is a member of the leadership team of the Harvey County Republican Party. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.