Sunday, August 31, 2014

A grumpy hostess, school problems, tax revenue and the future of wind power and rural areas!

Wood House
We had the final dinner party for the museum group this past week…sometimes we invent reasons for them…but this time it was real birthdays.  As usual the locals turned out and the talk was fun and lighthearted except for the hostess who was in a bad mood (as always).  This ended up by winding down to an important issue facing the MECS district. 

The study on combining the two existing schools into one….and the reality is it would be at a ridiculous cost…and the study came to the same conclusion that I gave a full talk on at another dinner party.  It does not take a rocket scientist to know that you can’t put small children in a big child facility.

The cost of building an addition would be outrageous for a town of 5 thousand people and that selling the old building wouldn’t cover the bills of the old building. So why do we pay for these ridiculous studies?

Then the talk spread to the big problem of some lawsuit that is going to cause a tax reduction on wind farms assessment that is going to hurt the school tax income…well that would be a problem!  But where is the information on this?  Why don’t we know about this?  Who has this information?

I went on line and sure enough there are articles but none that give a clear answer. 

The existing problem is that we have no real tax base in this rural area.  “Agribusiness” is not the same as storefronts, sales tax revenue (food is exempt from sales tax) and no industry that pays a living wage and has benefits.  (I bet a good 50% work for government or schools that draw off more tax dollars)

We do have houses being sold for taxes in large numbers because people cannot pay their taxes and these are sold to people who cannot fix them up because they are poor… or to landlords who turn them into rentals. 

Rentals lower the tax value of the houses around them in the majority of cases…they also cause a fluctuation in the number of children who attend the schools…some years many more…some years many less.

The need is for single-family houses that are in good condition that raise the tax base and not for rentals that appeal to occupants that are prone… in a rural area… to be poor and draw on government subsidies, and yes that becomes a tax burden on the county tax payers.

So what is the answer???

The answer is a sustainable economy made up of the correct percentages of industry, agriculture, retail and residential…something we have ignored in this county for years…a county...I might add..that gives people working for it insurance for life after only ten run by supervisors on a flawed weighted vote who are not particularly capable of spending enough time and energy on problem solving for the future… reactive rather than proactive.

Oh well...

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