June 11, 2012
I love Guilderland. I love the quality of the schools. I love the quality of the people. I love the quality the services. What I don't love is the level of taxes. Don't get me wrong. I am willing to pay for the services that I receive. I understand that the roads have to be plowed, the leaves have to be collected and the streets themselves need maintenance. The police have to be compensated for patroling the roads, the parks have to be groomed and someone has to count the tax money. I get it. What I don't get is this. The day after the school vote, a postcard comes in the mail from the Guilderland Library asking me to support a $12.95M library expansion. It says "only" $55 per $200,000, or to make it easy for me, $1.06 per week - "less than a cup of coffee". Elsewhere, it states, FOR 20 YEARS.
Here's what they're not highlighting for us:
- I am not a fan of percentages because they can be misleading, but It fails to state that this increase is over 25.5% of the current tax.
- They state the tax is $55 on $200,000 assessment, but it fails to state that the average assessment in Guilderland is $246,500. Most everyone reading this will be paying closer to $67.65, or $1.30/week.
- In 2012, the library tax rate, before the change ($1.08), is greater than the General Fund - $0.33/$1,000 (Public Safety, Town Administration, Parks, etc), Highway Fund - $0.99/$1,000 (Roads, Plowing, Painting, etc), Fire Department - $0.95/$1,000 (Public Safety) and Water Fund $1.07/$1,000 (Distribution).
It's great to have public meeting spaces, to have study areas, tween space, etc, but at what cost? When the Town wants to repair their water or sewer plants, people are going to yell about their taxes being too high. When the the pipes in the ground start bursting because they haven't been replaced in 50 years or the the roads need to be repaved and there are no operating funds to utilize, who will be the first to get upset about high taxes. Probably the same people who voted "yes" for the expansion. As sad as it is to say, Library's are going the way of the 8 track and the VCR; they are the bathhouses of our generation. Do you really want to pay $67.65 a year for 20 years for your VCR? I suggest that you pay for something more worthwhile. Think long term! If you are willing to spend the money, let the Town raise taxes by $67.65 to pay for water plant upgrades, infrastructure improvements, technology upgrades, etc.
That would be more useful. Think about it.
Thanks for reading this.