The Centerville City Council on Aug. 4, brought into discussion again the wisdom of continuing the city’s over-70 elderly tax exemption. Of course we were not informed of the outcome. Nor were we informed of their agenda.
It appears they will try for this tax increase on those 70 and over one way or the other. This was roundly defeated by the last vote, but they seem to be ignoring voters’ wishes. If, and I reiterate, if, they push this onto another ballot, the voters that it pertains to should show up to vote it down again. No means no. It was an emphatic no, if memory serves.
A solution that comes to mind is to have a vote with a grandfather clause in it. A grandfather clause would preserve their promise, which they handily forgot, and it would give others a chance to prepare for their 70s. Thinking that out further, one must realize that there are more and more people turning 70 each year. Each time you put it up for a vote, without doing proper preparation, you will have more people voting against it.
Why not have a grandfather clause? This would keep people from saying the City of Ethics is unethical. Set it up so that anyone now under exemption, stays that way, but anyone moving in after the ordinance is passed will not be exempt. Now that would be ethical.
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I agree with some aspects of the tax, but it should be researched further than last time, at least to include a grandfather clause or some such statement to avoid looking like politicians are only interested in income and what they can spend.
The politicians seem to forget that the 70 and older group pay school taxes and most have never had a child in school here. Nor do they take into account that the same group has paid taxes for many years. Some paid taxes when places like Eagle Springs were still a pecan orchard.
I have talked to many senior citizens who think a class action suit against each and every councilman should be initiated to make the city back off from breach of promise. If they don’t back off, those aforementioned citizens believe a referendum and recall should be initiated to replace the current politicos in City Hall. It seems they would find ways to save money rather than ask for more all of the time.
What they seem to be missing is that once a person hits 70, or even younger, their income is locked in. It increases very slowly, if at all. Younger people can always work more or save from somewhere. Fixed income is a problem when it comes to increased taxes. Unlike the city, when we need to buy something, or in the case of the city, want to buy something, we save or cut out something. The city should try that for a change.
And what ever happened to that last budget surplus reported by the CPA firm when they audited the city? That is just another unanswered question.
Another unanswered question is why does the city need to spend so much to tear down a building and then buy empty lots? The lot that was purchased was at a cost of $38,750 per acre with no access. Yet we are losing money? How can the city be in such horrible financial straits if it can spend that kind of money on a vacant lot. Why not use the lot where the old police department was for whatever the council has in mind?
The final statement is that we are offended by the councilmen electioneering in the City Council meeting. Calling for people to come out and vote for something is not the kind of thing that should be City Council business. The statement to level the “playing field” was absurd. Do you think it is a game? That is pure politician talk. If it’s a game, the playing field will be level when we, the elderly citizens, can stop paying school tax. Oh, I forgot, that’s a county issue.
James Huber is a resident of Centerville.