To the editor:
The City's property tax revenue is the product of two factors, the taxable property valuation and the millage rate. The City's valuation went up last year from $8,566.590,016 to $8,903,705,000 or about 4 percent. The mill rate both years was 7.957 mills. The valuation again this year will increase. The assertions being made by the City Manager and six members of the Council that property taxes are not a sustainable source of revenue for general government requires a declining property valuation and an unwillingness to increase the mill rate which is readily seen as an increase.
Service taxes such as the one proposed on LCEC's electric bill tends to be a hidden and invisible tax. It is inequitable when used for general government because it is not collected from all taxpayers and can be highly inequitable among taxpayers. They are not Federally tax deductible like property taxes and lead to higher levels of spending because they are hidden taxes. Moreover is that proposed spending largely for public safety vehicles necessary? The take-home City police car in studies decades ago was held to be an employee "perk." It is an unnecessary capital cost and increased fuel and other costs.
The proposed fire assessment (tax) on homes appears both unfair and not necessary. It is unfair because only seven percent of the calls to and responses are for fires. The majority of the responses are to all auto accidents. Most of the non-fire calls, the 93 percent, could be faster handled by a van, like a Ford Explorer and we would not be wearing out costly fire trucks, consuming more fuel and paying more overtime when the response is during a shift change. The paramedic with emergency equipment in a van, while not keeping the fire image of the big red fire truck, would provide faster service at far less cost.
I commend Mayor Sullivan and Councilmember Chulakes-Leetz for their opposition to these unnecessary "taxes" and to control public spending.
Arnold E. Kempe