I applaud Steven Camara’s stand on obtaining hard numbers for the cost of the new high school prior to holding a vote to override Proposition 2 ½ to pay for that school.
I wrote the city councilors on Tuesday expressing my dismay at this ill-advised idea. I do not agree with the proponents of the new high school that this is a “need” rather than a “want.” The high school is less than 40 years old. There should be no reason to replace it yet, and we should not even be having this discussion without knowing what the true cost will be so that the citizens can make an informed decision as to whether this truly is affordable. And yes, Mayor Jasiel Correia II, this is a very valid reason to delay.
The city councilors are being fiscally promiscuous with their constituents’ hard-earned wages, wages that have remained stagnant for years. They are willing to give the mayor carte blanche to raise our taxes. I shudder to think that he could raise taxes by 15 percent in one year, without a care as to what hardships this could cause for the numerous property owners, such as myself, that are having an increasingly difficult time stretching our very finite paychecks to cover more and more expenses.
Costs of goods and services continue to rise, my wages stay the same but my taxes keep going up, the services keep going down, while the city continues to add more and more fees on top of those taxes to maintain services that should be included in your property taxes, i.e., trash bags and sewer/stormwater management. I get less and less for my money, which has to stretch ever further, but the city councillors would give the mayor open access to my hard-earned cash.
The city cannot keep raising taxes and expecting those homeowners who are fortunate enough to still be working to fund all these expenditures. If the taxes continue to rise, I, and others like me, may be forced to sell the family home and relocate — and not locally, but to another area of the country where the cost of living is lower, all at a great financial and emotional cost to myself and remaining family.
Why not institute a school tax to be charged on all families in the city who have children in the school system, whether property owners or not? I am nearing 60 with no children, my father is retired, and yet we, and other childless families similarly situated, will probably be paying for the brunt of a school from which we will not benefit, now or in the future.
Overriding Proposition 2 ½ is an ill-advised way to finance a new high school. The majority of the people in the city do not own property and therefore do not care whether property taxes go up. It does not affect them. But it does affect others who can ill afford to keep having their taxes raised. Continuing to raise taxes in these circumstances will just lead to more foreclosures and/or tax takings and even more dark and/or empty properties. Good luck funding city services without a viable tax base to tax.
Donna L. Caisse