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Economists say we are technically out of the recession but common sense tells us otherwise. It is time we start working together to cut costs because what happens to your friends, neighbors and local businesses can have an impact on you and the decisions made by our local leaders can affect your wallet.
A few years ago, I wrote a letter to the editor pointing out the high cost of our local government and the burden it has put on property owners. Some disagreed with my outspoken stance because times just weren't that bad. Many thought the city should pay for a new parking deck and pool even though taxpayers were stuck with the bill.
This past year, Jack Waldrip wrote in this same paper pleading to the City Council not to raise the property tax or sewer rates once again because it was bad for the property owners during our current economic state. The city did not agree, so taxes were raised.
Most residents were unengaged because it wasn't enough money to fight over. What they failed to consider is that some in our community own many properties, and in this bad economy, the slightest increase could put them under.
Recently, another real estate leader and small business owner, Frank Norton, wrote a commentary about bloated local governments and the burden they put on all of us.
Will residents listen this time or will we continue to allow the politicians to take from us so they can build, remodel (again) or "redevelop" anything they feel appropriate at a time when there are empty buildings and homes all over?
Just know, we have not seen the worst of the housing market; 2011 will be the biggest year for foreclosures, which means even less revenue for government. Plus, no one knows how bad the commercial market will get. So will those of us who are still employed and still in our homes be hit with higher taxes? Or will the local government do what governments at every level should be doing and cut to bare necessities?
We need to realize we are all in this together. Waldrip's business affects us as does Norton's, just like your neighbor's stability does. None of us want real estate to be empty or worse, be foreclosed on. We all lose if property is abandoned.
Families and businesses have been cutting back, yet government never seems to do enough of it because it can always force us to pay more by raising rates, fees, taxes or by inflating an assessment.
With your help we can stop the waste. We may not be able to do much on the federal level but we can start by stopping the spending right here at home. Let your city council and county commissioners know that you are tired of paying for all the unnecessary extras and you want the budget cut to the bare necessities because if we are doing it, they should be too.