Thursday, September 15, 2005

Cedar Park & Leander Raise Taxes

Cedar Park and Leander will pay more in taxes in the coming year.

The article about Cedar Park is quite surprised that no one is against raising taxes, or at least has shown up for any meetings to voice opposition to them. The city is raising the tax rate 3 cents/$100:
In a city where budget talks generally bring out the worst in people, this year's Cedar Park city budget hasn't brought out anything - even the people. No residents have spoken during citizens' comments regarding the proposed 3-cent tax increase slated for approval this Thursday during a special-called council meeting.
What does the mayor have to say:
"When I was campaigning, people were telling me they were wondering why projects weren't started on things they voted for in 2001, so I believe there are people out there who are saying it's about time we're working on something the citizens approved four years ago," Mayor Bob Lemon said regarding the lack of opposition to the tax increase. "I know nobody likes to see their taxes go up but when they understand they're getting some value for it and life is going to improve, that's good for everybody."
First of all is he saying that in 2001 the city passed a bunch of projects that weren't funded? Or were they funded and then that money went to pay for something else? Second "some value" implies that certain things the city spends it's money on are OK and certain things it spends it money on are not. Care to explain Mr. Mayor? He speaks in vague generalities. Using non-specific phrases like "people were telling me", "people out there" and "I know nobody". I'm sure there are many "people out there" who aren't telling the mayor anything and that he doesn't know that aren't very happy with his reasoning. Another interesting thing about Cedar Park is that the majority of the council are Republicans (I know, I know city councils are non-partisan). I thought I heard somewhere one time that Republicans were against raising taxes?

On to Leander. Where apparently it's citizens are too worried about gas prices to care that their going to be paying more to the city:
Perhaps people are more worried about ever-increasing gas prices than a jump in their monthly tax bill. Often times talks about tax rates and budgets can get nasty, but this year that simply hasn't been the case.
Did they ever stop and think that maybe the reason people aren't coming is because they can't afford gas to get to the meetings? Or that they are too busy working their second job to get to the meeting? Guess not. Now in Leander your tax rate actually went down, you're only going to pay more because the value of your home went up:
As for the taxes, the average citizen will be paying approximately $8.45 more than last year's tax rate, because of increases in assessed-property value, even though the tax rate decreased slightly.
I'm sure that makes you feel better? I also love this quote:
"I think if you ask every department head if they got what they want, they'll say no," said City Manager Biff Johnson of the budget. "But if you ask every department head if they got what they need, they'll say yes."
Anyone who has ever worked with budgets knows that "department heads" always ask for more than they know they can get. No matter what they ask for they know they're going to get less. They shoot the moon and then negotiate down. I'm not to sure of the make up of the city government in Leander but I wouldn't bet on many if any of them running for higher office as a Democrat some day.

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