Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 24, 2014

Enough with the taxes and fees

By Jo Ann Crouch | Mar 10, 2014

To the editor:

Fairfield and Jefferson County leaders should stop their continuing march toward higher and higher property taxes and fees.

The increasing cost of living puts a great deal of pressure on all of our citizens but most acutely on those with fixed income and those just starting out. Higher property taxes keep young people from moving to Fairfield and older citizens and existing families from staying. High costs also put pressure on financially secure families who are trying to save for retirement or for their kids’ college education.

We should require cost saving and money earning components in any of our expenditures. Some of the projected expenses will expire but we need to be aggressive in reducing expenses now. The school district played their part, as an example, when they upgraded the middle school and included the geothermal system. We need more of this type of effort.

We can also pace ourselves better and scrutinize our projected costs. Do we need a new gym right now or can we take over the old Walmart building for a gym until some of the unexpected expenses are paid off? Can we streamline operational requirements in government functioning and therefore save money?

Finally, leaders in and out of government need to address the employment and income generating success of the community. The increase in property taxes to pay for improvements to our community will be more easily funded if we have more employed citizens whose income supports them living in Fairfield. We already know Jefferson County lags behind Iowa in employment. We don’t hear much, however, about if local wages and salaries have kept up with inflation and are adequate to live in our county.

With the constant option to go back to taxpayers to pay for more and more needs and extras in Fairfield, we are choking the life out of our standard of living. Yes, we want a gym, but what happens if no one can come because they can’t afford the membership? Yes, we have good schools, and a new sewer system, but how many citizens can’t find affordable housing or give up looking and move away? How many citizens must depend on public help to pay for the increases in housing costs?

I call on the mayor, the city and county boards, the school and business leaders along with all community members to work together to halt the increase in taxes and fees in Fairfield and Jefferson County. I also call on them to systematically reduce them over time. A serious commitment with brainstorming and creativity of all concerned could get us those lower taxes and most certainly a more robust community. We need to do that now.

 

– Jo Ann Crouch, Fairfield

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