SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


More on Ketchikan's Property Assessment Increase
By Sandy Powers


January 24, 2007

After quietly paying all my taxes for many years in Ketchikan, I must finally add my voice to the growing discontent over this latest property tax assessment increase. I appreciate that a couple Assembly members seem to sympathize. If the Borough was "tightening its belt" as much as I have this past year, what with increasing utilities bills, particularly heating oil, we might avoid this assessment-come-tax hike. Maybe the Borough office can rationalize the increased assessment percentage, but I don't see a thriving economy driving healthy, increasing property values. I see, as Glen says, a lot of people wondering how to make ends meet. These aren't people delighted to have a new promenade along city float or other niceties right now. These are people delighted to be able to scrape together enough cash to meet their basic needs each month. But what do we seem to be hearing? "Let them eat cake!"?

On the other hand, maybe the increased assessment is good news for me. I've seen the assessed value of my little old house go up almost $37,000 in the past 4 years! Without any improvements being made! At this rate I should be able to make a dandy profit when I sell it in another 6 years or so. (Well, except it desperately needs roof repair - the tax assessors probably overlook little details like that. Might bring down the taxable value.) When the time comes, I'll offer it to someone at the Borough for the assessed value. Everyone knows a good investment is one that keeps going up in value. That makes this house a great investment! And then I am taking my considerable real estate profits and moving to Prince of Wales Island.

John Harrington admits we are suspicious of the Borough, unhappy with the seemingly deaf ear they turn to the public, and disillusioned with the disastrous financial decisions in the past several years.

I would say to the Borough: We are realistic. We know it costs money to run a city and borough. We don't mind paying our fair share of taxes. Our FAIR share of taxes. And then we expect the Borough to use those hard-earned taxes wisely. Don't throw that money away on pet projects or always catering to the tourist industry while ignoring the needs and voice of the people who live here. And don't treat us like we are a bottomless cookie jar of tax revenue. Economics have been tough for us in the past several years. Stop punishing us further with constant unrealistic assessment increases. Start making good, sound financial decisions that have wide public support, not that divide the community. We are living with ever-tighter budget constraints. Maybe the Borough needs to do the same. Ever hear the familiar phrase, "We can't afford it!"?

Sandy Powers
Ketchikan, AK

Received January 24, 2007 - Published January 24, 2007

About: "After living and working in Ketchikan over 30 years, Prince of Wales looks better all the time."


Related Viewpoint:

letter Ketchikan assessment headaches By John Harrington - Ketchikan, AK

letter Read My Lips By Glen Thompson - Ketchikan, AK



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Ketchikan, Alaska