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Grinding Axes About Taxes 11/26/14

Do you know anything other than government, the cost of which has gone up thirty percent in one year?  Do you think we are getting thirty percent more value for our tax dollars?

The taxable market value of my home went up over $40,000.00 in one year. 

Because why? 

The only improvement we made to the property last year was to transplant some hostas.  The previous year, we repaved the driveway – a project that cost roughly $4,000.00.  If improvements are going to be taxed at ten times their cost, I can’t afford to improve my home.  The tax assessor stopped at my house a year and a half ago, and didn’t even bother to come in.  I think he knew assessments were going to skyrocket, and all he had to do was check his quota of address boxes for the day before going home.

Sidebar thought here – do you suppose that’s the reason some people don’t paint their homes, or replace broken windows and rotted boards?  Would a $2,000.00 paint job add twenty grand to the taxable value?

Here are my percentages:
Scott County...................................................................... 21.7% Increase
City of Jordan.................................................................... 11.1% Increase
ISD 0717 Jordan................................................................ 85.3% Increase
          School-Voter Approved......................................... 106.6% Increase
          School-Other Local Levies...................................... 63.1% Increase
Metro Special Taxing Districts, Metropolitan Council..... 22.2% Increase
Other Special Taxing Districts.......................................... 25.4% Increase

If the School District had told residents their taxes would nearly double, how many do you think would have voted for the new recreation center?

And by the way, if you live in the City Limits, in 2016 your taxes will be upped to pay for the City’s sur-share of the maintenance and staffing of said recreation center.

I suggest City residents should pray for a surge in new development – oh wait – that won’t work either because it would lead to a surge in the need for City services like police, fire, public works and infrastructure.

The County is in the midst of a push for more transit.  Personally, I’m not optimistic that we’ll get twenty percent more bus routes to Jordan – or twenty percent more of anything for that matter.

The Metropolitan Council is just a scam to pull money out of the burbs, while pushing problems out of the metro area.

Played Me Like a Fiddle
During the campaign, and even before, I told people we Councilors were working on a budget that would see all residential property taxes go down.  I was not the only Councilor who made public statements about residential property taxes going down.  

Silly me.

One person I’ve communicated with thinks his City tax went down.  I think he may be mistaken, since he lives in a nice house, in a good part of town.  So far, everyone else I’ve spoken to says their residential tax cost has gone up – usually in the twenty to thirty percent range.

My County taxes are not going down.

My City taxes are not going down.

And my School District Taxes are most assuredly not going down.

Sorry folks, your City taxes aren’t going down unless the City makes some truly dramatic cuts.  Even then, the School District will step in to suck up any spare change you might get from a City tax cut.

And you know what?  I should have known.  I’ve been in these discussions for years.  Yes, we’re lowering the tax rate (but the taxable value is going to soar which will more than make up for the rate cut). 

Slice it, dice it, and spice it any way you want.  

In the end, the City is collecting $105.23 more from me this year.  Other jurisdictions are taking more.  That money used to be discretionary income.  No longer.  You can look at your own income and tax bill, and figure out where you’re going to make thirty percent in discretionary cuts. 

There are people in this town who are living on fixed incomes, and must decide every year whether they can afford to continue to own a home.  My guess is that every year, one or two of those people calls it quits, and walks away from his or her home.

An Exciting (?) Evening
Saturday night was interesting, what with police from four jurisdictions roaming around just outside my yard.  Zeus was there too.  Lucy (who washed out from police dog training before we got her) was all in a dither, wanting to get out and join the search. 

My son and I were standing in the back yard for a bit, watching the goings-on, and we were told to go inside and lock the doors.

As a Council Member, I get periodic updates on police actions (which I am not always at liberty to share).  Below you will find the news releases for this particular action. 

Guess who owns a green Volkswagen Cabrio.  Happily for us, ours was not the getaway vehicle.  The Green Flea is resting peacefully in our garage.

DATE:       November 23, 2014
Brett Empey, Chief of Police
          2nd Degree Assault

PRESS RELEASE #2– For Immediate Release

Johnathon Herring, 32 years old, has been identified by the Jordan Police Department as the man alleged to have used a firearm to physically strike his female significant other in the head at Hope Lutheran Church in the City of Jordan on November 22, 2014 at approximately 9pm.  No shots were fired as some media outlets initially reported.  The female sustained non-life threatening injuries.  She was treated and released from a local hospital. 

Herring is believed to have fled the City of Jordan in a vehicle stolen from a Jordan residence.  The stolen vehicle is described as a 2002 Volkswagen Cabrio GLX convertible, green in color, bearing MN License Plate 639JUY.  The investigation is ongoing.

Herring may be armed and authorities are cautioning the public not to approach either Herring or the stolen vehicle should they see them, rather citizens are urged to immediately call 911. 

Anyone with information pertaining to the current whereabouts of Herring is urged to contact the Jordan Police Department at 952-492-2009.

Suspect Photo on page 2

UPDATE:  J. Herring has been apprehended; more details to follow.

DATE:       November 23, 2014
Brett Empey, Chief of Police
          2nd Degree Assault

PRESS RELEASE #3– For Immediate Release

Johnathon Herring was apprehended this afternoon at approximately 12:20pm by the Minneapolis Police Department after a 911 tip led to authorities searching for him at a residence on Chicago Ave. S. in Minneapolis. 

Upon responding to the residence the Minneapolis Police Department located the 2002 Volkswagen Cabrio GLX, reported earlier as stolen to the Jordan Police Department, parked directly outside of the residence. 

Minneapolis Police Department Officers were able to make contact with the occupants of the residence and located Herring hiding inside where he was taken into custody without further incident.

Herring has since been transported to the Scott County Jail where he awaits an arraignment hearing.

Thus end the press releases.

From what I could tell, officers from Jordan, Scott County, Belle Plaine, New Prague, and Shakopee responded.  A Jordan squad car was in the Hope Lutheran lot all night.  As of Sunday, about noon, JPD was still conducting an investigation.

On A Happier Note (If You’re Not a Turkey)
Happy Thanksgiving! 

The Quote:
We Hoosiers hold to some quaint notions. Some might say we 'cling' to them, though not out of fear or ignorance. We believe in paying our bills. We have kept our state in the black throughout the recent unpleasantness, while cutting rather than raising taxes, by practicing an old tribal ritual - we spend less money than we take in.”

          Mitch Daniels

Videos are now on the Video Page

I welcome public comment on this topic. Anyone willing to give his or her name is welcome to respond here. Thom.Boncher@gmail.com  No anonymous responses will be posted.  No obscene language will be permitted.  Threats, personal attacks, and spam will not be posted.  My house, my rules.  But if you have something to say, and if you are willing to put your name on it, I won’t refuse to let you be heard.