Fairfield Ledger
http://fairfield-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1141366

Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 21, 2014

High taxes dissuade prospective residents

By David Ballou | Mar 13, 2014

To the editor:

In the Friday, March 7, front page story “Survey: Quality housing in short supply,” Andy Hallman reports that Adam Plagge, FEDA’s executive director, suggests addressing Fairfield’s housing shortage by building new homes for high-income families. That “would free up existing homes and allow low-income households to upgrade their living arrangements by moving into those recently vacated homes.”

So … people living now in presumably medium-to-high income housing would for some reason suddenly be attracted to upgrading to high-income housing. In turn, residents of low-income housing – who can’t afford to fix up their current dilapidated properties – would be attracted to the newly-vacated housing, which would be more expensive for them. Am I missing something? It certainly may help our tax base if we increase affordable, nice housing in Fairfield – I just don’t get the logic of how we get there.

I suspect a major reason more people are commuting to work in Fairfield rather than moving here is high property taxes. Indeed the March 11 front page Ledger article, “Fairfield taxes to increase 9 percent,” states that taxes due from an owner of a $100,000 Fairfield property will jump from $844 last year to $951 this year -- this works out to a 13 percent increase when the property percentage increase mandated by state government is included, compared to only a 5 percent increase last year.

Coupled with increasingly high water and sewer bills that will only head higher to repair our dilapidated drainage systems, it’s no wonder so few people are moving here. It is a wonder they aren’t leaving in droves – to Van Buren, Wapello or Keokuk counties – further raising costs here for the rest of us!

We might start injecting a bit of sanity into our fiscal chaos by delaying construction on the gym part of the complex, redirecting some of that money towards the water system to make water bill increases lower and the rest towards reducing the increase in property taxes.

Or we might consider rescinding the vote on the pool and gym complex – the source of 52 percent of this year’s tax rate increase. I know a number of people who deeply regret their “yes” vote on this issue.

A petition to stop or delay that project before it breaks ground makes sense. Rural Jefferson County got it right on this one.

 

– David Ballou, Fairfield

 

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