Ketchikan assessment headaches
By John Harrington
January 19, 2007
As a Ketchikan Borough Assembly member I need to respond to some
of the comments on the increase in assessed valuation. Actually
this year's huge increase in assessments is a major problem for
the Borough Assembly. I believe that Dan McQueen voiced what
many believe, that is that the huge assessment increase "is
just another Back-door attempt to raise taxes". I wish
it were true. Reality is actually much worse!
1. It is worse because the assessed valuation is one part of
school funding - any increase in assessed valuation shifts part
of the funding away from the state on to the locals. I do not
have the exact dollar amounts yet, but it looks like we will
lose $300,000 in state funds because of the increase.
2. It is also worse because
it makes the process of governance more difficult. Like every
year, there are several major problems facing the Borough. (Finishing
Schoenbar, and finding a way to pay for it; helping the city
lobby for the intertie, finding a way to get out of the dump
we call an office building and into new quarters without costing
the citizens, etc) You get my point we have problems, but this
assessment increase angers, many of you and increases your suspicions
of us, and when you are angry and suspicious you unfortunately
remember every damned thing we ever did wrong. It keeps me
humble, but makes the job harder.
So what am I going to do?
1. I have asked the Borough Manager and the Finance Director
to prepare information so we can show actual comparisons. (This
year's mil rate is 7.2; using the new assessment what would the
mil rate need to be to raise that amount of dollars, probably
about 6.5 mils. When that benchmark mil rate is set, it will
allow you to see what we are actually doing to the tax rates.
2. Several folks have already
begun discussing a Fairbanks-style initiative campaign to limit
the amount of taxes. To avoid that I am hoping that the assembly
can do one of two things. Either establish a mil rate that the
community in general approves of, or present a ballot measure
to the voters so you can have a say on the level of taxation
that is acceptable to you.
If you have any thoughts or ideas every Borough Assembly Member's
email is available online at www.borough.ketchikan.ak.us/assembly/elected.htm
, (just don t look at the pictures. They are awful).
Received January 19, 2007 - Published January 19, 2007
About: "Just one borough
assembly member who wants to take off his bullet-proof vest some
time this year."
Note: Comments published
on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
GLUTTONS By Ken Bylund - Ketchikan, AK
OVER-TAX KETCHIKAN'S CITIZENS! By Dan McQueen - Ketchikan,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.
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