Tuesday, September 18, 2012

For Future Growth, Sullivan County CANNOT AFFORD A Property Tax Increase For 2013

County Commissioners are looking at approving what could be a DOUBLE DIGIT property tax increase for 2013...lets be honest, property owners cannot afford any increase in their property taxes, and the county cannot expect much growth in our county when property taxes are already so out of line...such high property taxes DISCOURAGE NEW BUSINESS, rather than attract it.

As example, look at some of the properties for sale in our county, and the estimated property taxes (this includes all property taxes including school taxes), and it becomes crystal clear that one of the anchors holding back economic renewal in our county are the taxes on real estate...when one is looking at having to put more in the escrow account to pay property taxes than they are paying on their mortgage each month, something has to change.

There is a property for sale in Mountaindale that can be purchased for $45,000...the owners are wanting to be done with it.  If one puts down 20 percent and finances the remaining $36,000 with a traditional 30 year mortgage, your monthly payment would be $171.87.  However, the estimated taxes (before the county raises them) for this property come out to $3300 per year.  That would require the home purchaser to put $275 per month into escrow to cover property taxes on the home...hello Houston we have a problem.  Who wants to buy a home where they have to pay more per month in property taxes than they are paying on their mortgage?  No wonder so many people walk away from their properties, let them go up for auction to pay off their property taxes.

Property values in our county have plummeted, yet try to get a reduction in your tax rates, and most of the time the County Auditor is going to laugh at you...why?  If a home was once worth A and is now worth B in an arms length sale and that value of B is now lower than A, seems only logical that our citizens should see their property taxes lowered rather than raised doesn't it?

No one likes cutting services, or losing some of their perks, but maybe it is time that the County Commissioners here in Sullivan County find ways to TIGHTEN THEIR BELTS, rather than raising property taxes that are already out of line.

How about an across the board cut of say 10 percent?  How about figuring out ways for the county offices to use less electricity...trust me, go through the budget and you would be surprised at how much the county ways to keep the proverbial lights on.  Perhaps they need to ask county employees to pay a bigger share of their health care costs, or ask police officers and others to pay for their own uniforms, rather than handing out generous clothing allowances that we the tax payers pay for...no one pays the tab on the clothing we need to go to work.  Maybe it is time for some PAY CUTS...studies show that those on the government payroll earn on average 40 percent more than their private sector counterparts doing the same work.

Raising property taxes is NOT GOOD for the county's property owners, and in the long run not good for the future growth of our county.  In this economy our elected officials should be looking for ways to cut costs, rather than looking to already financially strapped households to take yet another hit on their family budgets.