We had a resident come forward to talk about the value placed on his house by the county assessor. He believed the increase was too large.
Open forum is recorded as part of the meeting (This council changed that policy to allow it) so you can listen to what he has to say.
2 things that I'd like to point out:
- Your property tax is based on 2 things; Your property value and the city's tax rate. The tax rate your city controls (and we were able to reduced it significantly this year). The property value is controlled by the county.
- If you think your property value is incorrect, you can make your case at the appeals meeting that is listed on your property tax estimate. The county assessors can be very aggressive about defending their values, so have some comparable sold properties ready. This meeting is to correct your property value only (NOT the tax rate or the amount of tax). The subsequent taxes are corrected via your local elections.
One fellow council member wasn't happy we discussed this with the resident and that it was allowed to go on past the 3 minute limit. Since I run the meetings it falls on me to control both of those items and I didn't, and apologize for that.
Item C (Update on West French Lake Road and Discussion on Funding)
Before many of the commercial properties in that area can be developed, they need West French Lake Road (south of the Graco property to the Dayton Parkway) to get a significant upgrade. That upgrade will cost approx. $9M and would be the city's responsibility, not the developer. This is where (in my opinion) TIF can be properly used. The bottom line is, if we were to bond for this and pay back the bond from taxes, it would cost the city $9M (plus interest). Using TIF for most of this, the cost will be about $4.5M. Unfortunately, we're still using $1.5M directly from our pavement fund (filled via taxes) but there didn't seem to be another mechanism we could tap into for that.
Many of the residents that are being impacted by this upgrade showed up to speak.
One council member (again) wasn't happy about this and believed those residents should have spoke at open forum (instead of during discussion on the item), been limited to 3 minutes, and had no interaction with the council.
I have a number of problems with that.
- Open forum is for items NOT on the agenda. The primary reason is because open forum topics are assumed to be unique information not likely to overlap with a discussed item. This item was titled "Update on West French Lake Road and Discussion on Funding." I'm not sure how their questions about timeline, property impacts, engineering, reimbursement, etc. aren't related to the first part of that title.
- The official "public meeting", as is typical, was done LONG before these residents had a clue what to ask and what was going to be done to their properties.
- They also had specific questions about why the impact estimates ONLY included trees (and nothing else such as fencing, septic, etc.) What we told them was, if they had an impact, to get an estimate on it and present that.
As always, if you have questions or opinions on these or other matters, feel free to contact me