Using growth to fix existing problems is just another pyramid scheme. New development should pay for a fair portion of the infrastructure built for them. Taxes on the other hand should be structured to ensure that the land owner pays for the maintenance and eventual replacement of shared infrastructure. For a 30 year asset the city should be putting away 1/30th of the replacement cost every year plus some amount raised every year for maintenance. This enures we have money in the bank to replace infrastructure and enough to maintain it so we get the maximum life out of the asset.
In a well functioning economy some inflation is healthy so the cost of replacement and maintenance will change over time, generally upwards. If the city does not change anything it's falling behind leaving a liability to future and existing landowners.
Any politician claiming they won't raise taxes, without a legitimate plan to cut expenditures, is either naïve or lying. It's not responsible to not reassess tax and fee structures to ensure they are generating enough revenue to pay for things we've agreed the city should be responsible for. This reassessment should be done every year and if inflation is above zero we should seriously consider raising taxes and fees to match at least inflation.
If we don't keep up with inflation we end up leaving the dirty work for someone else and sticking it to future owners like many communities are right now in Utah. Brigham City is proposing 111% jump, Alpine a 32% jump and Spanish Fork wants a 15% jump in taxes. The US inflation rate through July 2018 was 2.9% so all these increases are way overdue it seems.
In Utah raising taxes at the city level triggers a Truth in Taxation public hearing. https://le.utah.gov/~2019/bills/static/HB0446.html These meetings are never fun but leaders lead, they have confidence their decisions will have positive impacts on their community. Leaders are willing to listen and provide information to help people understand the factors leading them towards a particular decision. As an HOA President and Board Member I've had these tough discussions at many a meeting having to explain the budget with anyone upset with dues. Most everyone just wanted to understand and generally left satisfied given the facts.
To many homeowners it's new to them what the real costs of maintaining a home no less a community are. Explaining this to upset homeowners was part of the job. Most of us happily do not want to attend public meetings as often times the subject matter is not important to us.
We should elect leaders that hopefully make the same decision we would given the facts. To that end I don't have a strict ideology when it comes to decision making rather taking an approach where one must listen, learn and debate to come up with a decision that makes sense given the best information available.
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