Council Think About Taxes?

The following was an editorial sent into the Missourian asking what the city council thinks about taxes. I have included my response in the form of a letter to the editor which has yet to be included in the Missourian:

What Does the Council Think About Taxes?

By: John Ritson Sr., A Senior Citizen

01/13/2009 e

To The Editor: Let’s hear from the council people!! As most of us taxpaying property owners are disgusted with the “unfair” taxation on devalued property and seemingly lack of concern by those in charge, we should hear what our council people think about the present situations. After all, if they truly are thinking about and representing their constituents of the four wards in Washington, I feel we have the right to know how they feel about an unfair practice, even if it is required by a stupid law. Hopefully, they haven’t forgot what most of us learn in American History classes, something called the cry of “taxation without representation!” So, before we start hearing about the next local election, maybe we might just get some insight on how these council people think about fairness when it comes to the process of levying taxes.

My response, January 14, 2009:

Dear Mr. Ritson, Sr

I certainly can empathize with your feelings that keeping property tax rates steady in the face of falling property values is “unfair.” Unfortunately, some citizens feel that government should provide our cradle-to-grave needs. This philosophy comes at a price. When the economy is doing well, this works OK, but when the economy falters the tax payer and business owners get pinched.

The reality is that per every $100 of assessed property value, $5.89 is the total tax levy. Of that total amount 68 cents goes to the City of Washington – the only amount your elected city council person has control of. $3.86 of the tax goes to the school district – by far the lions share of all property taxes. As you can see, our portion of the total pie is but a fraction of the full about. Of the City of Washington’s portion, 15 cents goes to the Fire Department, 9 cents goes to the Library, and the remainder goes to the General Fund for operating the city.

Regarding the setting of the 2008 tax levy, the City Council was split down the middle on voting in the new tax levy. I voted against setting the levy at 100%, along with 3 other of my colleagues. (The eMissourian is an excellent resource for searching city news. To read the entire story, search the eMissorian for: “Mayor Breaks Tie to Set ’08 Tax Levy, By Ed Pruneau, Missourian Managing Editor 08/19/2008.” ) But I can say with confidence that the Mayor, City Staff, and City Council remain vigilant in protecting tax dollars and have recently come up with new ways to increase the efficiency of government operations.

From my perspective and limited control, you are receiving a pretty good value for your property tax dollar. We have a premier Volunteer Fire Department, Water Department, Sanitation Department, along with streets, parks and the library. We have some of the cheapest and cleanest water in the nation. We have a state-of-the-art water treatment plant that will come on line very soon that can scale to future growth for a generation or more.

And no I am not up for re-election.

Sincerely yours,

Guy W. Midkiff
Ward III, Councilman
City of Washington

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Published in: on January 17, 2009 at 10:11 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] KUDOS – WPD! Recently I wrote an editorial responding to a citizens concerns about property taxes and what a city councilman’s roll in taxes are. (See: Councilmen Think About Taxes?) […]


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