Monday, November 1, 2010
My Neighbors Would Probably Hate Me If They Knew
Tomorrow is voting day. I'm not generally too political, but I do have a strong opinion on my city's proposition this time around.
Signs started showing up around my neighborhood in support of our city's Proposition 1 almost a month ago. Like, seriously, all over my neighborhood. I had never heard of Proposition 1 so I looked it up in order to make an informed vote. The gist of it is this: my city would like to build a new, updated recreation center to replace 3 existing facilities; the much older existing recreation center, senior center and the old armory where community classes and events occur.
And here's my deal. I am not against a new recreation center. But I will NOT be voting for it, and here are my reasons why:
1) I am against raising property taxes. We already had our property taxes raised not too many years back in order to build a newer public library. Here is the information sent to me by the city regarding the increase in property taxes I can expect if this Proposition is passed:
The owner of an average $195,000 home would pay $2.61 more per month, or $31.32 more per year, in property tax. Together with the portion of property taxes that is currently paying for the library bond, that would come to $6.37 per month or $76.45 per year. (In three years, after the library bond is paid off, the full $76.45 would go towards paying for the recreation center for the remaining 17 years of the bond.)
So, if I understand this correctly, they are going to continue charging us (via property taxes) the same money I am paying for the library bond after it is paid off in 3 years but use that money instead for the new recreation center in addition to the extra $30 or so per year that the vote would approve.
What are they going to build after the recreation center? All I see is a continued increase in my property taxes with no end in sight. I'm not cool with that. Once the library bond is paid off, that should be the end of that tax. It's not right to tack that existing expense on to a new project.
2) I am irritated that the location of the new recreation center (the baseball fields for my kids' high school) is already being cleared out for building. The new ball fields are already being set up just down the street from my house as if the vote has already been won and the bond approved. Sort of makes me feel like my vote isn't going to matter since they've already got things in the works. That doesn't seem right to me.
3) I think that if property owners are the ones who will be paying for this new recreation center, we should be the only ones who get to vote for or against it. I don't understand how it is fair for those who will not be taxed (non-property owners) to be allowed to vote in favor of this. Basically anyone who is registered to vote can approve an increase in my taxes while they get to enjoy the new recreation center without having to pay for the bond. In addition, I would be even happier with this if only those who approve of the bond are charged for it. If they don't get enough votes to collect the money that is needed, then too bad.
4) My family would not use the new facility. The only thing my family does through the city's recreation center is take swimming lessons at the city's outdoor pool and it is more than adequate.
I would love to hear your opinions on this, especially if you live in my city.
Don't forget to vote tomorrow!