Bob's Words of Wisdom News

In Meridian, Developers get the Gold Mine, Property Owners get the Shaft

Why is anyone surprised about the increased taxes for Meridian? Last year we were screaming from the rooftops about the problems with the West Ada School district—the fact that it is way too big and money is badly allocated.

The facts are that every time we turn around, there is another school that they want to build and another levy on property owners. Does anyone remember how Governor Otter and his wife stepped into the school board fight along with the Meridian chamber of commerce using their influence in the school board election? This type of action is unheard of in a local election.

Why do you think they did this? It’s because campaign money comes in from the big developers and all they want to do is build. They don’t worry about paying their fair share or how their continued building is going to affect property taxes or infrastructure, they just want to make money building. It has even been alleged that a developer financed the recall election for the West Ada Board members.

It all comes back to our old saying, “follow the money”. Take a look at the Urban Renewal project that is taking place between Franklin and I-84 on Ten Mile Road. Tom Ahlquist, one of our gubernatorial candidates, is heavily involved in this urban renewal project. There is no way this development should have been an Urban Renewal project on such a prime piece of farm land.

Under the guise of urban renewal, they get to use our tax money for the development of the project. When they are finished, the property owners get to pay to build out the infrastructure necessary to accommodate new residents’ school children and roads that are required because of the new development. When are we going to make the developers pay for this growth with the impact fees necessary to offset the fleecing of the taxpayer with tax increases?

The developers get a gold mine and the property owners get the shaft.

There is just too much coziness between the developers and the politicians, not just in Meridian but in other cities as well. We need to put the taxing authority back into the hands of the voters and stop these 3% increases without the property owners voting. Right now, they can raise taxes 3% a year without a vote and if they skip a year with no increase they can raise 6% the following year.

Does everyone understand that the authority for tax levies is cumulative? Elected officials also need to stop holding elections in off times so that only those that are informed will vote the way the politicians want them to. In many cases, you have 20% of the people deciding if there will be a levy for schools.

We all know that there is a price to be paid for growth, but let’s at least make sure that the cost is shared in a fair and reasonable way. We need to STOP putting all of the burdens of higher taxes on the property owners for the mistakes of elected official’s misguided expectations for growth. It is time for the developers who profit handsomely from these new projects to share in the burden of the new infrastructure’s cost.

“We Get the Government We Deserve”

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