Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Donít believe LOT purveyors

So if we vote “yes” to increase our LOT, it will bring hundreds of millions of dollars to our community. And using the trickle down philosophy, it will make us all rich! Even though this is a tax, we won’t have to pay for it, someone else will. Right.

Where have I heard this before? Oh yeah, from the same guys touting this windfall, only it was the Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency. The promise then, in 2006-07, was for $100 million in property taxes for infrastructure improvements that would not cost a dime—it would come from property tax money that would otherwise go to the county.

And how’s that working out for us? Well, with the predicted $100 million revenue in our future, our elected officials borrowed $6 million and spent it on street improvements, a building that they have rented out to a corporate business and a vacant lot.

And that $100 million? Well, the economy went bad. Instead of collecting millions each year, we were only collecting a few hundred thousand. This was only enough to make interest payments on that borrowed $6 million and the deadline for the balloon payments to retire this debt were looming. So the URA sold some bonds. Now the tax money collected goes to making annual payment on those bonds. By the time they are paid off in 2035, they will have cost us a total of close to $12 million. And there is no money left for any improvements.

So stick to the old saying: “When something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Vote “NO” to 1 percent LOT increase.

Phyllis Shafran



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