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City projects need another means for financing

To the Editor:
Pay for infrastructure and repairs in Glencoe using property tax assessments has to end. Assessments are the most unfair tax you can have because there is no correlation between the amount assessed and the ability to pay. A hundred feet of pavement or sewer line costs the same if it’s done in front of a $50,000 home or a $500,000 home.
I think it’s time our leaders start looking at other options for funding these projects instead of taking the easy way out and just saying that Statute 429 says this is the way we have to do it.
One of the simplest changes would be to spread the burden over all property owners. Statute 429 allows not just assessing properties adjacent to the project, but also abutting properties — even to all properties that “benefit” from the repair or improvement. I drive most of the streets in Glencoe, not just the one in front of my house. I have certainly derived some benefit from past improvements without being assessed.
Some cities have even added a city sales tax to help fund street repair and water and sewer projects. Even Hutchinson utilized this approach.
Raise the property tax and establish a capital funding reserve. It’s great to say “we didn’t raise your taxes,” but how many property owners “got stiffed” with property tax assessments? When just a few dozen property owners are assessed for a project, it’s just a couple of dozen angry people at the meetings. If all property owners in the community are assessed, there may be a few more people at those meetings with legitimate questions.
Our infrastructure is getting older by the minute and our streets, sidewalks, water system and parks need to be maintained. I am not saying that any particular capital project should not have been done. I just think that paying for them can and must be done in a more equitable way.
Daris Remus
Glencoe